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Book Review: The Lady Raven by Rebecca Henry

The Lady Raven

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Rebecca Henry, for an honest review.

Genre: Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: In The Lady Raven, Rebecca Henry tells the tale of Zezolla, a little princess abandoned by her father into the hands of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. A familiar fairy tale you may think but all is not as it appears. The reader is soon drawn into a web of witchcraft, lies and deceit, and gradually realizes that this is no typical fairy tale but a dark and macabre take on one. Zezolla is treated with the utmost cruelty, neglected and vilified, and left to live in the damp cellars of the castle. The only friends Zezolla has are her beloved raven and her pet wolf. Her only comfort lies in the loyalty of the creatures of the forest and her mother’s hazel tree. Will Zezolla have the power to escape her torment and ultimately save herself from the unscrupulous clutches of the king? The Lady Raven is a compelling tale and one that is not for the faint-hearted.


Fridays are for dark retellings, murder and deceit.

In this twisted tale there are more than just stepmothers to defeat.

Vile stepsisters and wicked, forceful Kings,

Have a chance to be defeated with the help of paws and wings.

With a Princess clad in black and magic scorching through her veins,

A Queen must arise to break free from her chains.

I love a fairy tale retelling, especially one that flips the story from cheery to morbid.

But what I love even more, is a story of a Goth Princess Witch.

Rebecca Henry got our Princess’s name wrong though,

because this is DEFINITELY written about me.

Princess Zezolla lead a life of happiness and bliss with her parents in their castle. A life with a doting father and a mother that showered her in love and affection. At least until her mother was drowned at the hands of her father. Now Zezolla’s life is one doused in sorrow and cruelty. Countless deaths and misfortunes follow the Princess as she grows into a young woman, with only her Raven and her magic to keep her company. Forced into the cellars of her castle by her stepmother and her daughters to live for years, the only solace Zezolla can find is through the woods and its creatures. But the bloodshed in Zezolla’s life has only just begun, and to survive, she must trust in her magic and her guardians.

Zezolla is the witchy Princess that my childhood heart has always wanted!

This girl is sweet, caring, compassionate and loving to everyone and everything around her-even those who treat her horribly. After the death of her mother, she falls into a state of mourning that takes hold of her life and leaves her lonely and neglected. Her father, after being betrayed by his wife and then drowning her, becomes a nonexistent parent to Zezolla, only focusing his efforts on securing a new wife and improving his status. And so begins the onslaught of stepmothers that will enter Zeolla’s life, leaving a trail of cruelty and vile behavior in their wake.

It seems to be a theme in this retelling for characters to begin as somewhat decent beings, and then turn rather drastically into monstrous versions of themselves. It was so saddening to watch Zezolla lean towards so many figures in her life that she loved and respected, only for them to turn on her and wish for her demise. But another huge theme was the act of characters attempting to have ownership or control over our little Cinderella girl. She was constantly being thrust into the hands of those who either wanted her for gain or to be a slave that they could torture. This poor girl is beaten, betrayed, manipulated, verbally abused and treated like an object constantly.+

“You have witnessed man’s true desire…to own a woman.”

But before you think that she is totally helpless, don’t. Zezolla is a fierce and witty character with extraordinary abilities. She has a deep understanding of the Earth and the animals, and has extremely dedicated companions by way of a raven and a wolf. These two creatures steal and kill in order to protect their Princess, and to be completely honest, it is badass and ruthless! There is SO much blood being spilled in this story, but don’t fret, it isn’t graphic at all and won’t keep you up at night.


What I really enjoyed about this story as well, is the romance. It is a bit unexpected and not a huge part of the story…which I really LOVE! Look, I adore my fantasy romances just like the next YA obsessive out there. But what I adore even more, is a story where a female isn’t waiting in the damn shadows for a man to rescue her and fight her battles. I crave that feminine strength and power in books, and Rebecca delivered.

Overall, I am really impressed with this dark Cinderella retelling. The pace is quick, and this book covers a TON of ground in just 180 pages. It completely sucked me in and left me feeling a bit dismayed that it was over, because all I wanted was to stay with Zezolla. I would gladly welcome a series of The Lady Raven, or even a dark retelling of EVERY princess (hint hint, Rebecca). I definitely recommend this gritty and gothic fairy tale to those of you who are looking for a new retelling or a spooky read for October!




Blog Tour · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Reviews

Blog Tour: My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel Blog Tour

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MSF 2D High ResPublication Date: December 6, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.


Lying is a symptom shared by the most convincing, cunning and ruthless individuals such as psychopaths and narcissistic manipulators. They have an invincible sense of self-importance and an addictive urge to project an image of power and perfection at all cost which are fuelled by the rewarding tools of charm, diversion and … clever deception.

Like anything in life, whether the skill is morally laudable or not, skills require training, effort and hard work. The danger lies in the brain progressively adapting to the dishonest behaviour and the longer the lies, the harder it would seem to be able to change the conditioning of one’s sensitivity to telling the truth. The truth and nothing but the truth or at the very least the intention to do so most of the time therefore appears to be a basic requirement for any interpersonal trust.

In my new stand-alone novella, I explore the idea that when crossing the line between truth or lie too often, it becomes a curse the person is eventually unable to shed … (H.A. Leuschel)



I was brushing my teeth the next morning when Alexa called, crying over another nasty phone call from her ex. I was running late as it was but was unable to stop her barrage of insults against a man I didn’t even know the name of.

‘He’s driving me absolutely insane. I’ve really had enough,’ I heard her shout, the heels of her shoes clicking on the pavement. She was clearly on her way to work while I was only slipping my feet into my shoes. It had been her second frantic call that morning.

‘Listen. Alexa, calm down. I understand you’re upset but I’ll be late if you don’t stop.’

‘I’m there for you when you need me but when I’m the one in need for once, you fob me off. Great, really nice, thanks.’ She hung up, leaving me in an angry sweat. I was her polar opposite – organized and calm – but lately I felt out of kilter myself. I’d missed out on seeing my mum because, for one reason or another, Alexa managed to ambush my attention.

When I eventually rushed through the office door, Alexa was looking up at me indifferently, in deep conversation with Jack, who tapped his watch with pursed lips and raised eyebrows. I lowered my eyes, my stomach heaving with repressed fury. Alexa had crawled under my skin yet I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why and how it had all come about.

Purchase My Sweet Friend Here!

Enter for your chance to win a digital copy (Format of Choice) of My Sweet Friend

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About the Author

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Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches yoga.

Helene Leuschel | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tour Organized By:


R&R Book Tours

My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

Blog Tour Schedule

Feb. 19th

Reads & Reels (Feature Promo)

Brizzle Lass Books (Excerpt)

The Repeat Mom (Review)

Sinfully Wicked Reviews (Review)

Nesie’s Place (Review)

Jill’s Book Blog (Review)

Feb. 20th

Books and Belle (Excerpt)

Beware the Reader (Excerpt)

Jenacidebybibliophile (Review)

Darque Dreamer Reads (Review)

Cover to Cover (Excerpt)

Feb. 21st

Girl Masked (Review)

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt)

Book Reviews by Shalini (Excerpt)

The Starving Book Worm (Review)

Tranquil Dreams (Review)

Feb. 22nd

Splashes Into Books (Review)

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review)

The Bookworm Chronicles (Excerpt)

Feb. 23rd

The Orangutan Librarian (Review)

On the Shelf Book Reviews (Excerpt)

Love Books Group (Review)

Just 4 My Books (Review)




Blog Tour · Book Promo · Books · New Releases

New Book Release! HALYCON by Demelza Carlton

HALCYON by Demelza Carlton


Available on Amazon, and  Free with Kindle Unlimited:


A Lone Planet. One Complex.

Unlimited Chaos.

Catch a siren. Stop the storm. Whatever the cost.

Allie, sick of war and grief, signed up as a lowly maintenance worker for the Complex in the hope of securing a lasting peace between the Metas and Humans. However, the girl has her own secrets, not least of which is her assignment from the Lorn government to monitor the Complex for signs of a suspected saboteur.

Galen, the only survivor of the Poseidon shipwreck, didn’t join the Complex for peace. He wants vengeance on the siren Halcyon, the mysterious Mer whose terrorist tactics single-handedly killed more humans than any other Meta. His sources say that Halcyon is on Lorn, and he’ll happily kill every Mer in the Complex until his parents’ murderer is dead.

Can they catch the terrorist before the Complex is destroyed?


The Complex Book Series:

A Lone Planet. One Complex.

Unlimited Chaos.

After a brutal war between Humans and Metas an uneasy truce is declared in the Seldova solar system. At the conclusion of the treaty signing, the Complex is created on the lone planet, Lorn. The Complex is a blended community of Humans and Metas, all sent to test the waters of a more peaceful existence between the two races. Living under a domed community can only mean one thing for the Humans and Metas. Chaos.


A taste of what’s in store:

Galen unclenched his fists and stepped out of the cab. It zoomed away, leaving him alone in the corridor outside his door. Outside what would be home for the next two years.

Galen took a deep breath, palmed open the door, and stepped inside.

Only to discover the apartment was already occupied.

“…I repeat, restrict temperatures within all living spaces to a lower limit of two…no, make it five degrees above the freezing point of water. Anyone who wants lower temperatures than that will have to apply to Maintenance and only if appropriate insulation is fitted to all the apartment’s pipework will it be allowed,” the woman said. A floor-cleaning robot hummed around her feet, siphoning water off the floor.

An electronic voice protested, “You do not have authorisation to impose controls on all living spaces, or this one. Resident number – “

“Space that!” the woman snapped. “My authorisation is ALI-407102 Maintenance override. Stick that up your circuits and do as you’re told.”

Galen liked her already.

“Processing,” the recorded voice replied. “Authorisation confirmed. Any further orders?”

“Give me a damage report. How many apartments are affected by the burst pipes?”

A pause, then the electronic voice said, “Just those on this side of the inner ring of this level. No other apartments had sub-zero temperatures for an extended period.”

The woman sighed, her shoulders relaxing along with her voice. “Good. I want temperatures matched to those in 407 until the ice has melted in all affected apartments, and I want floor cleaning robots activated in all of them. Get me every Maintenance worker we have in the Complex, and a load of replacement pipes. This is urgent.”

“Implementing orders now,” the voice said.

As if on command, Galen’s communications device sounded an alert.

The woman whirled around, so her surprised eyes met his. She wasn’t more than a girl, really, despite her authoritative orders to the building management AI. Yet her dark eyes seemed to x-ray his soul, if he believed in such a thing.

Galen tried to shake off the effect of her hypnotic stare. Did that make her a Meta like the Intra at the entrance? “How many apartments have burst pipes?”

Her eyes widened for a moment. “Enough to keep me busy all day. Some idiot set these rooms to temperatures below freezing, without realising that some other idiot had forgotten to insulate the water pipes against freezing. Probably someone who’d never seen snow before, or what ice can do to pipes. My money’s on a stupid ship-born Meta.” Her brows drew so low they nearly met over the bridge of her nose.

Hating Metas made her Human, then. Just a really pretty one. Galen blew out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding. Human and his type and here. Whoever she was, he wanted her.

“Aren’t we supposed to be trying to get along?” Galen said. “You know, us and the Metas, now the war’s over?”

The girl snorted. “Oh, sure. The war’s over and we live under a peace treaty, so we’re not supposed to kill each other, but there was nothing in the treaty about banning stupidity. So I guess we’ll just have to live with that.”

Galen laughed. She wasn’t stupid, that was for sure. “I’m Galen,” he said, extending a hand in greeting. “I’m supposed to be the environmental engineer responsible for the Complex, and while I don’t think I’ve officially started work yet, I think your AI just conscripted me.” He pointed at his right hand, which hid the chip implant that held his communication device. “I’ve changed a few pipes in my time. I did my apprenticeship on shipboard environmental systems. Nothing as state of the art as this place. Our ship was falling apart, cobbled together from spare parts and scrap metal in the first place. You’d replace one thing, only to find something else had fallen off while you were working. I can handle pipe replacements.”

Her cool fingers meshed with his as she shook his hand. Her eyes lit up. “So you’re the genius engineer Lennox told me about. I thought you’d be older.” Her mischievous grin did things to Galen’s insides.

“I’m twenty-four, and I’ve been working as an engineer for a decade. Plenty old enough to know what I’m doing,” Galen snapped to hide the tumult inside. She couldn’t be any older than he was. In fact, she looked younger. And she was a Maintenance worker, which made her his subordinate. “How many apartments need replacement pipes?” he repeated.

The girl lifted her eyes to the ceiling. “Answer him.”

“Fifty-two, not including the two already repaired,” the electronic voice said.

“Twenty-six each, then,” the girl said. She flashed another impish grin. “How fast can you fix pipes, genius? Want to wager something on it? Loser has to make the winner dinner.”

How had she known he’d wanted to ask her to dinner? Galen shook his head. She hadn’t. “You’re on. One condition, though.”

She raised her eyebrows, waving for him to continue.

“Tell me your name.”

She let out a peal of laughter. “Sure thing, Galen. I’m Allie, and it’s good to have you on board. Genius or not, anyone who can fix pipes is a good man in my book.” Allie winked. “I’ll go left, and you go right. I already fixed the pipes in your next door neighbours’ place. A wolverine shifter family. Good thing the ventilation’s still working well.”

Galen watched her head down the corridor, unable to take his eyes off her.

Allie glanced over her shoulder. “Staring at my arse won’t win you your wager, genius. Nor will it get you any closer to getting your hands on it.”

Feeling his face grow hot, Galen turned away, but not before he heard her laughter ring out down the corridor. He had to win this wager, he swore. His reputation depended on it.

And maybe more besides, he thought, envisioning what she looked like without her standard-issue coverall. One day he wanted to find out how well fantasy matched the reality.


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THE SNAKE DEN (The Shadow & Ink Series Book 2) RELEASE DAY!! by Nikki Rae

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Book One Synopsis:
The Crow Box (The Shadow & Ink Series, Book One)
The small wooden box is dirty, the size of a human fist, and sealed with wax. When Corbin takes it upon herself to clean it and break the seal, a voice she has tried to ignore gathers strength. Shadows play on the walls at night, and with a family history of mental illness, Corbin fears the worst. But the voice tells her it is real. That its name is Six and it will prove it in time.
Drawn to this mysterious entity, Corbin isn’t sure what to believe and the line between reality and her imagination blurs more every day.
Some doors should not be opened; can this one be closed?
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Book Two Synopsis:
The Snake Den (The Shadow & Ink Series, Book Two)
The box has opened a door to the dark place where the voice Corbin hears dwells. Not only that, but she’s brought it forth in human form, into her world, into the light. But others have been alerted to her existence, and Six is only the beginning of the imaginary becoming real. Torn between her love for Six and wanting a normal life, Corbin must decide if she should live in the light or hide in the dark.
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Nikki Rae is an independent author who lives in New Jersey. She explores human nature through fiction, concentrating on making the imaginary as real as possible. Her genres of choice are mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.
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BLOG TOUR! – Cast in Shadow (Revelations Series – Book 3)

✯✯Cast in Shadow✯✯
-Revelations Series Book 3-
Releases March 22nd!

The final seals of the apocalypse are within the enemy’s grasp. Our trio—the demon, the shapeshifter, and the succubus—continue to battle the djinn hell-bent on world domination. With God and Lucifer missing, Heaven and Hell are more vulnerable than ever, while Earth has been reduced to a battleground of famine and despair. Will Lenny, Drew and Polly be able to unmask the Master and stop their evil plan? Or will the djinn succeed and our heroes find that their world has been forever Cast in Shadow?

Buy links:
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:

About the Authors

Lisa Lane has been writing dark speculative fiction for over twenty-five years. She has ten published novels and dozens of published short stories. She is married to editor and educator Thomas B. Lane Jr. and currently resides in the outskirts of Sin City.

Her published works include the traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe; the World-Mart trilogy, a dystopian tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut; the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods; Revelations, a collaborative urban fantasy trilogy; and the dramatic horror novella series, Jane the Hippie Vampire.

Find Lisa online:

Jaime Johnesee lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. She spent fourteen years as a zookeeper before shifting her focus to writing full time. Known for her bestselling horror comedy series, Bob the Zombie, she is also currently coauthoring the paranormal horror series, Revelations, for Devil Dog Press as well as her Samantha Reece series.

Find Jaime online:

Christine Sutton is the author of more than fifteen short stories, novellas and novels. While she tends to cross genres within horror, she is always passionate about scaring the hell out of you.

Her passion would have to be serial killer fiction, but she also loves ghosts, ghouls, demons and monsters of all types. Christine’s work ranges from modern day fairy tales to demonic soul eaters to ghostly children that just want to play. Her writing has been called passionate, realistic, gritty, fun, enthralling and tons of other cool adjectives.

You, too can pick up some of Christine’s work and come up with some cool adjectives of your own. It won’t be hard. I promise.

Find Christine online: