Review: The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso

Book Review

The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso
(Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #2)
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The spiral to madness begins with a single push. Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worst as she stumbles upon a plot deeper and more sinister than she could have ever imagined, one that will displace her king and see her son dead. The road home beckons, strewn with a tangled web of deceit and impossible horrors that unearth the nation’s true troubles – creatures from the dark, mad dragons, and men with hearts hungry for power. To save her land, Talyien must confront the myth others have built around her: Warlord Yeshin’s daughter, symbol of peace, warrior and queen, and everything she could never be. The price of failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.

What I thought
This is the second book in an amazing trilogy.  After reading the first book I could not wait to pick up the second one.  And just like the first one I was sucked into the story from the beginning, so needless to say  I was not disappointed. I have already ordered the third and final book in this series, and I am not so patiently waiting for it to arrive.  

This is a character-driven story that is told by future Tali.  The storytelling is just amazing and when the stakes were so high I tended to forget who our storyteller is and feared what was coming next.  If she is telling the story then she has to survive but there are times that I forgot about that.  

I love how this book does not shy away from Tali’s dark thoughts when she feels that she has lost everything.  It makes the story feel more real.  I appreciate how we watch how Tali had to deal with all the trauma that is being inflicted on her and how she debates the different paths and who all would be affected by her choices.  In the end, her love for her son keeps her going.  Throughout this book, Tali is having to learn who she is balanced against who everyone else thinks she is or who they believe she should be.  

I really hope Tali gets some form of a happy ending by the end of this series.  And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I hope Khine is part of her happy ending.  Khine is amazing and I could just gush about him all day long.

My opinion about Rai has not changed, he can go jump off a cliff for all I care.  He can try to justify all that he does but it’s all so selfish.  He has not considered even once how his actions affect his family.  As sad as it is I am happy that I think Tali is finally realizing this. It is really hard to believe that Rai did not see what was coming at the end of the book.  I mean really you set all this stuff in motion and didn’t think anyone was going to take advantage of it.  For someone that is supposed to be so smart, he can’t see beyond what is right in front of him.

If you enjoy epic character-driven stories then you really should pick up the first book in this series.  

My Rating: /5

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Wrap Up

May 2021 Wrap-up

Monthly Wrapup

Hello you wonderful people.

Welcome to my May wrap-up.  I read more in the month of May than I thought I did. as a whole it was a pretty good reading month. I finished 17 books and I DNF’d 5.

5 Star Reads

The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso | (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #2) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads 

Admonition by Kathryn Amurra | (Soothsayer’s Path, #2) | Historical Romance | Add to Goodreads

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison | (The Goblin Emperor #1) | Fantasy, Steampunk | Add to Goodreads

An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington | (The Licanius Trilogy #2) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

The Audacious Miss Eliza by Laura Rollins | (Daughters of Courage #1) | Historical Romance, Regency Romance | Add to Goodreads

Monsters Don’t Wear Underpants by Isaac Stewart | Children’s Book | Add to Goodreads

Dark One by Brandon Sanderson, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Nathan C. Gooden, and Kurt Michael Russell | (Dark One #1) | Graphic Novel, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Clockwork Planet, Vol. 1 by Yuu Kamiya | (Clockwork Planet Manga #1) | Manga, Steampunk, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson | Mistborn Saga – The Wax & Wayne Series #1 | Steampunk, Fantasy, Flintlock Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

4 Star Reads

The Apothecary Diaries Manga, Vol. 1 by Natsu Hyuuga | (The Apothecary Diaries (Nekokurage) #1) | Manga, Mystery, Historical | Add to Goodreads

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint | Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling | Add to Goodreads

Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee | (Ember of Night #1) | Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn | (Heroine Complex #1) | Urban Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

The Selkie Scandal by Rosalie Oaks | (Lady Diviner #1.5) | Historical Fantasy, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison | Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs | (Mercy Thompson #1) | Urban Fantasy, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

2 Star Reads

Temple of Ice by Christian Cura | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads


The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson, Casey Sherman, and Dave Wedge | Biography, Nonfiction, Historical | Add to Goodreads

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt | Historical Fiction, Crime, Mystery | Add to Goodreads

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse | Classic, Philosophy, Spirituality | Add to Goodreads

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell | (The Legacy of the Mercenary Kings #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova | (Loom Saga #1) | Young Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk | Add to Goodreads

How was your reading month? Take to me below I would love to hear from you!

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Review: Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee

Book Review

Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee
(Ember of Night #1)
Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

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I am a weed.

Unloved by my abusive, alcoholic dad. Unwanted by my classmates. Unnoticed by everyone else.

But I’d suffer anything to give my kid sister a better life—the minute I turn eighteen, I’m getting us the hell out of here. And some hot stranger telling me I am the key to stopping a war between Heaven and Hell isn’t going to change that.

Let the world crumble and burn, for all I care.

Draven is relentless, though. And very much a liar. Every time his sexy lips are moving, I can see it—in the dip of his head, the grit of his jaw—even if my heart begs me to ignore the signs.

So what does he want?

I need to figure it out fast, because now everyone is gunning for me. And damn if I don’t want to show them what happens when you let weeds thrive in the cracks of the pavement…

We can grow powerful enough to shatter the whole foundation.

What I thought
I received a copy of this book from the Publisher, for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I will be honest, I was on the fence about this one before I picked it up. There was just something about it that kept piquing my interest so I decided to give it a chance. Thankfully I listened to that little voice because I really enjoyed this book. There is so much that happens in this book that you can’t put it down. There is just something about Harley that spoke to me and I can not put my finger on exactly what that is yet. Out of all of the things that I expected to happen in this book, the ending was not one of them. I have to say that I am so happy that the next book is coming out this fall because I need to see what happens next.

My Rating: /5

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Memes · TBR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? June 21, 2021

It's Monday What are you reading.png

Good Morning,

It’s the start of another week. It’s Monday! What are you Reading is hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, this is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind.

Recent Books

Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen by Alison Weir | (Six Tudor Queens #1) | Historical Fiction | Add to Goodreads

Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir takes on what no fiction writer has done before: creating a dramatic six-book series in which each novel covers one of King Henry VIII s wives. In this captivating opening volume, Weirbrings to life the tumultuous tale of Katherine of Aragon, Henry s first, devoted, and true queen.

A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner.

Katherine s patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine s maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.

Hidden Knights by Jennifer Anne Davis | (Knights of the Realm #2) | Young Adult, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

With Prince Henrick dead, a foreign army in league with the king, and the palace taken, Reid must find a way to right the wrongs for the people of Marsden.

Reid never expected to find love, friendship, or her mother in the kingdom of Axian. She also never expected to become a leader for her people. With the king threatening to overthrow the dukes and take complete control of the kingdom, Reid realizes she may be the only one in a position to stop him. With the ring her father gave her, the commanders of the army at her side, and a master schemer in league with her, Reid just might be able to pull off the greatest upset in Marsden history—all she has to do in step into the role she was born for.

To protect her kingdom, Reid must outsmart them all. Luckily, she’s spent the last eighteen year learning the art of manipulation, and she isn’t above putting those skills to the test. 

Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne | (Ink & Sigil #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails – and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.

But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.

But when his latest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective – while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentice’s death will take him through Scotland’s magical underworld, and he’ll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he’s to survive. 

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner | Historical Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

An evocative combination of fantasy, history, and Jewish folklore, The Light of the Midnight Stars is fairytale-inspired novel from the author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood.

Deep in the Hungarian woods, the sacred magic of King Solomon lives on in his descendants. Gathering under the midnight stars, they pray, sing and perform small miracles – and none are more gifted than the great Rabbi Isaac and his three daughters. Each one is blessed with a unique talent – whether it be coaxing plants to grow, or predicting the future by reading the path of the stars.

When a fateful decision to help an outsider ends in an accusation of witchcraft, fire blazes through their village. Rabbi Isaac and his family are forced to flee, to abandon their magic and settle into a new way of life. But a dark fog is making its way across Europe and will, in the end, reach even those who thought they could run from it. Each of the sisters will have to make a choice – and change the future of their family forever.

Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler | (Burningblade & Silvereye #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world, in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy

Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.

Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

The Determined Miss Rachel by Laura Rollins | (Daughters of Courage #2) | Regency Romance, Clean Romance | Add to Goodreads

She wants nothing more than to leave.
He wants nothing more than for her to stay.

Change may be the only constant in life, but for Rachel Chant change has only ever meant loss. First her father passed, then she was forced to leave her mother, and now she has even lost her home. Enough is enough and Rachel determines to find a way to be with her mother once again. She is no longer a little girl, dependent on those charged with her care, and she won’t stand by while her mother slips beyond reputable society and further into poverty.

Christopher Dunn has always lived among the comforts of high society, but never as a true member. The son of a musician and now a tutor, he has long since given up on having a home or family. Change and disruption are a way of life for him. He’s a man without roots, and he’s fine with that. That is, until he meets Rachel.

Steady in the face of uncertainty and with a love of music that runs as deep as his own, Rachel first captures Christopher’s interest and soon afterward his heart. However, Rachel’s determination to return home won’t let her rest. But to return home would be to leave Christopher. Life, it seems, is not yet done taking away those she loves, and this time it just might be more than either of them can endure.

As the second stand-alone novel in a new series by author Laura Rollins, The Determined Miss Rachel continues the Daughters of Courage series. This charming story is a light-hearted, clean and wholesome romance set in the Regency era (think: a clean Bridgerton). All books in this series have their own Happily-Ever-After and can be read apart or enjoyed in proper order.

Currently Reading

The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis | Historical Fantasy, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová– a widow with secrets of her own.

When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.

After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson | Mistborn Saga – The Wax & Wayne Series #1 | Steampunk, Fantasy, Flintlock Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

hree hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark | (Dead Djinn Universe #1) | Historical Fantasy, Steampunk | Add to Goodreads

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems….

Clockwork Planet, Vol. 2 by Yuu Kamiya | (Clockwork Planet Manga #2) | Manga, Steampunk, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads


Naoto and RyuZU have a tense encounter with Marie Bell Breguet and her bodyguard, Vainney Halter, but the four strike up a shaky alliance in order to fix the Core Tower in Kyoto. With the city’s most important structure in disrepair, Kyoto’s entire population is at risk, but Naoto believes he can save it before the city undergoes a Purge. This unstoppable team of renegades may be able to save millions of lives, but acting against government orders could spark a dangerous conflict. Is Naoto’s group ready to face the consequences of disrupting the order of the world itself? 

What are you hoping to read this week?

Let’s chat in the comments below!

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Review: The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

Book Review

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
(Powder Mage #3)
Fantasy, Flintlock Fantasy

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The capital has fallen…

Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.

An army divided…

With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.

All hope rests with one…

And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed…

THE AUTUMN REPUBLIC is the epic conclusion that began with Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign.

What I thought
This book was a perfect ending for an amazing series.  Before I picked up the first book in this series I would have told you that the idea of a flintlock fantasy did not appeal to me.  However, I gave this series a chance and I regret nothing.  Since this is the final book in this series I am going to keep this short, so that I do not spoil anything. 

I love how this series keeps an even pace throughout all three books, each one picks up one right after another.  I also like how the POV’s all flow, I did not feel like I was missing anything.  

After the first two books I still am not a fan of Adamat’s story.  However, I understand that it is necessary to balance out the book.  When it comes down to it I just did not like his character as much as I liked the others.  

Taniel and Ka-Poel have been my favorites from the beginning and I am so happy for the ending that they get. 

Bo and Nila very quickly grew on me.  I was on the fences regarding these two at the end of the second book.  Honestly there is just something about Bo that I can’t quite put a finger on that I really like about him.  Nila is unique and I can’t help but to wonder if she will be mentioned in the future books in this world.  There are hints to her abilities and she does not “fit” into the magic system of this world. 

I am purposefully not saying anything else to avoid spoilers.  If you have not picked up the first book yet you really should give it a try if you enjoy epic fantasy stories. 

My Rating: /5

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Review: The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

Book Review

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman
(Blacktongue #1)

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Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.

But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.

Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.

Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford. 

What I thought
Thank you Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for giving me an ARC copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

After reading the synopsis for this book I could not wait for it to come out.  It sounded like it was going to be right up my alley.  However, I found the book to be so-so.  I am a character-driven reader and I just did not care about any of the characters in this book.  I had no connection with Kinch (the MC) and I was not a fan of his type of humor.  It wasn’t bad just not for me.  On a positive note, the world-building in this book is done really well.  

I know that there are a lot of people out there that would love this book, but it sadly was not for me.   If you enjoy crass humor then this is the book for you.

My Rating: /5

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Blog Tour: In Solitudes Shadow by David Green @DavidGreenWrite @EerieRiver @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #InSolitudesShadow

Wow! Would you just look at this cover! I’m happy to share with you, this beautiful dark fantasy, In Solitudes Shadow by David Green. Read on for details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card.

In Solitudes Shadow by David Green
(Empire of Ruin #1)
Dark Fantasy
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The Banished have returned, and they will have their revenge.

Zanna Alpenwood, a powerful mage, stands atop Solitude’s walls staring down at an army bent on invasion. Two hundred aged and forgotten Sparkers are all that stand between the Banished and the nation of Haltveldt.

With time running out, Zanna is forced to reach out to her estranged daughter, Calene, and set her on an impossible quest. In doing so Calene must decide between her masters and her own conscience, as she teams up with unlikely allies to forge their way over land and sea. Will they arrive in time to save the fortress of Solitude from destruction?

Only one thing is certain. Ruin is assured if Solitude falls.

The moon hid behind the highest rise of the Peaks of Eternity. Black clouds hung heavy in the sky. Zanna’s senses felt dull. They told her there should still have been rain. A storm with thunder and lightning. Instead, it felt as though the night held its breath. “Master?” Arlo asked, his voice subdued as he stared out over the walls. “Does the darkness scare you?”

“You get used to it,” Zanna replied, putting an arm around his shoulders.

“No, I mean tonight. There’s something… odd.”Zanna glanced at him. She felt it too. The night held a strange quality. All too quiet, but a tense quivering underpinned the silence. Feeling eyes on her, shescanned the rampart and saw they were alone. At first, she thought it her imagination, but faint sounds drifted to her. The sound of whispers that lingered at the edge of her hearing.

“You’re right, Arlo,” she said, gazing across the ramparts. Lit braziers dotted the walls that ran a half-mile in each direction. She drew their flames inside her, the sensation thrilling her. Arlo’s eyes widened at the depth of her power. Zanna kept pulling fire into her, her limbs filling with warmth, heat, power. It made her feel alive, to the point she wanted to keep drawing, to not let go. A struggle every Sparker contended with.

“We need light.”

Quivering with energy and almost at her limit, Zanna lifted her hands to the skie sand unleashed a fountain of flame across the heavens, lighting up the plains for miles below them.

“Oh, teeth of the gods,” she whispered, taking in the sight below before darkness swallowed the flames. She turned to Arlo. The colour had drained from his face and tears filled his wide, blue eyes. His fingers dug into the stone ramparts as he gripped the wall.

“Raas preserve us. Get Protector Garet. Run. Can you do that?”

Arlo nodded and shot away, leaving Zanna alone. She looked out over the ramparts again. The darkness hid them as they spilled over the distant hills. An army marched across the slate plains towards Solitude. Thousands of them. The Banished were  coming. And less than two hundred Sparkers, with a single apprentice, stood in their way.

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You’ve probably visited this site and noticed the banners for In Solitude’s Shadow—an epic, character-driven dark fantasy, they say—and seen a guest blog spot by some bloke called David Green. Well, you’re reading in now, so let’s say you have.

Who’s David Green? That’s me, and In Solitude’s Shadow is my first foray into long-form fantasy writing, after thirty-odd years of reading it (thirty-one since I read The Hobbit for the first time at the age of seven, to be precise. How do I know? I still have the same copy, with my name, age, and address scrawled in it. I must have had wild dreams for the future, as my address included which planet, solar system, and galaxy I lived in… but that’s another story.)

So a little about me; I’m a ‘dark fiction’ writer, which means while I love me some fantasy, I dabble in other genres. Horror and sci-fi, mostly. Though I do enjoy noir. In fact, my first series is an urban-fantasy paranormal noir, in my crazy attempt to throw as many genres into one book that I could. I get notions like that from time to time. I’m Irish, but grew up in Manchester in the not-so sunny UK, before moving back to the not-so sunny Galway at the tail-end of the 00s. Three years ago, I became a stay-at-home dad to a wonderful little boy who’s my partner-in-crime in all things, but I needed something else to do.

Writing became that thing.

I’d always harboured ambitions to write, but my old familiar friend—the Doubt Monster, I call him Doug—would convince me not to bother.

“No one will care,” Doug would whisper, prodding me to play more Xbox, or read something good. “You won’t be able to do it.”

I’d nod my head and park my dreams for a little longer. But then my son came along, and you know what? I wanted to have something to make him proud. One printed story in an anthology. That would do me. Just one thing he could see, aged seven, maybe like when I read The Hobbit, and he could say, “My dad did something? Who knew?”

So I practiced. I went to creative writing lessons, and was invited to read a little story I wrote about the time I had to spend almost forty hours of my life dressed in a female bunny suit to a room full of people. Her name was Dot. Probably still is, for all I know. But mainly, I kept all my scribblings to myself.

Then came the pandemic.

Now, what I didn’t realise about writing was that it’s quite a lonely business. Shock horror, I know, I know. I’m quite famed for missing the obvious. But the pandemic took that to new levels. Gone were the creative writing classes. A weekly book group I joined was no more. Housebound in lockdown, I considered what to do. I could stop; go back to the Xbox, become great at increasing my waist size.

Or I could take it more seriously, get that one printed story. Just one.

A few months later, after immersing myself in a wonderful online writing community, getting that interaction and advice, I got my story. Then came another, and another. I had the writing bug. And each time, I moved closer and closer to writing fantasy, after avoiding it at first; how could I, Mr New Writer, hope to create anything as fine as the stories I loved?

Well, you try.

I had the idea for In Solitude’s Shadow for years. Not fully refined and formed, but the spark lived inside me. But I hadn’t written it. Then I saw an upcoming call from Eerie River Publishing, a wonderful imprint of dark and delightful things, announcing that they would be open for dark fantasy standalone novels and series from June 1st to June 30th 2020.

This was my chance.

But… I hadn’t written it. And we were in May.

I spent a day thinking about whether I could do it. I’d need to give some things up (Xbox, movie night, a few TV shows on the back burner) but if I set myself daily goals, got my trusted beta reader onboard, I could do it, couldn’t I?

I thought of my son, two years old then, and realised yes. All I could do was try.

I wrote every night into the small hours. Alone in my kitchen, on my couch, in my bed. Anywhere I could type. I’d thought writing a lonely business before, but throwing yourself into writing a novel in a month… that’s something else.

Lonely… but rewarding.

I’d created it. The idea in my head. The working title, The Banished, changed to Solitude’s Shadow (no In, at that point). An apt title; not only for the themes in the book, but a novel written during a pandemic lockdown, mostly in the middle of the night. And what’s more, my beta reader loved it. As did the next set of eyes, who gave me some valuable advice before it was ready for submission.

One evening, a few weeks later, I got a message from Michelle at Eerie River Publishing, telling me she was reading it. Another few nervous hours later, another message. “I’m still reading this, I’m over halfway through.”

Nerves built.

Soon after, a third message. “Can we talk?”

I ignored my first instinct of saying “NO!” and heading for the hills.

We talked. We made plans. We discussed the positives and the parts that needed more work, then Michelle stopped and asked: “Wait, you do want to publish with me, don’t you?”

I didn’t give it a millisecond of thought.

“I really think you should call it ‘In Solitude’s Shadow,’ though, don’t you?”

Almost a year later, and the book is ready for people to read. It’s nerve-wracking, but exhilarating. I’m hard at work at the sequel, but not forcing myself into as much Solitude this time.

So what’s the point of this blog? If there’s one thing I’ve learned since beginning my writing journey, it’s this: try. You have an idea you think no one will ever read, ever care about looking at? They won’t if it’s still in your head, or on your hard drive. If you have an ambition to write, or to create, or to try something new, go for it. Don’t let you stop you.

You never know what might happen.

I hope if you pick up In Solitude’s Shadow, you enjoy it, and find something of worth. While it pays respect to many things I love in fantasy, I believe it offers unique spins and perspectives and if nothing else, is a fast-paced ripping yarn.

For now, happy reading.

David Green.

David Green David Green is a writer of dark fiction. Born in Manchester, UK and living in Galway, Ireland, David grew up with gloomy clouds above his head, and rain water at his feet, which has no doubt influenced his dark scribblings. David is the author of the Pushcart Prize nominated novelette Dead Man Walking, and is excited for his fantasy series, Empire of Ruin, debuting in June 2021 from Eerie River Publishing.

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