Book Review Alert: Midlife Magic School by Nicole Wells

Reviewed: June 21st, 2022
Released: June 20th, 2022
Genre: Paranormal Midlife Fantasy

Going to magic school at fifty is the least of Chloe’s worries.

A magical inheritance. A dog with an attitude. A sexy headmaster. And people trying to kill her.

When Chloe receives a bolt of magic out of the blue on her fiftieth birthday, she’s cast into an exciting but tumultuous world filled with Shifters, Elementals, Witches, and one very hot headmaster Witch. In order to return the inheritance to its rightful owner, and satisfy her curiosity at the same time, she must go to the Universal Magush Academy and learn all about the magical community while keeping one big secret—she’s human.

Or is she?

Threats to her life and those she holds dear lurk in every corner. As if that wasn’t enough, students and teachers alike hate her on sight.

As she digs deep to discover who she is, she finds herself in the middle of two battles: one for the fate of humanity and one for the peace of the magic realm. Soon these twisting fates have Chloe questioning everything she thought she knew.

But maybe, with the help of a sexy sidekick and a handful of misfit friends, she’ll teach this magic world a thing or two.

And she might just turn both worlds on their heads while she’s at it… Read my Thoughts…

Book Review Alert: Silent Melody by Alice Ivinya

Reviewed: June 21st, 2022
Released: June 11th, 2021
Genre: Fairytale Retelling

When the Pied Piper came, only three children remained. One was deaf and one was blind.
Being deaf meant life was hard for Adelaide in thirteenth century Germany. However, it also saved her from the Pied Piper’s music. When the children were stolen, she was left behind. Now she and her blind friend risk everything to free the children trapped in an eternal dance. But to rescue them she must face the Heartless Queen, who will do anything to keep them, and survive her twisted games. Adelaide finds she has no choice but to trust the man she should hate and hope he is not playing games of his own.

If she fails, the children will be lost forever. Read my Thoughts…

Book Review Alert: To Thaw a Heart by Sky Sommers

Reviewed: December 18th, 2021
Released: November 18th, 2021
Genre: Fairytale Retelling

Sixteen-year old Kaj has to make a trade. A mysterious woman he has never seen before and will never see again offers to make it so that the Red Guard would ignore his friend Gerda while they drag her whole family away to exile. All Kaj has to do is surrender the warmth of his heart.

Will Gerda stick with Kaj after he changes overnight for the worse?

Can the Snow Queen’s curse ever be broken?

What would you give to keep someone you care about alive?

This Snow Queen retelling is a 90-minute prequel to Cinders and the Magic Mirrors Saga and can be read as a standalone. Read my thoughts …

Book Review Alert: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Reviewed: December 16th, 2021
Released: July 8th, 2021
Genre: Fairytale Retelling

A princess in exile. Six enchanted cranes. An unspeakable curse.

A beautiful and immersive YA fantasy retelling of the Grimm brothers’ The Six Swans fairytale, set in an East-Asian inspired world, by the author of Spin the Dawn.

Shiori’anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs in her veins. And on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain – no matter what it costs. Read my thoughts …

Book Review Alert: Ash Crooked Fates by Sky Sommers

Reviewed: June 25th, 2021
Released: June 20th, 2021
Genre: Fairytale Retelling

Ash is the third book in the Magic Mirrors Saga; a retelling of the Wizard of Oz and can be read as a standalone. Thie book is quite unique in that you can choose your ending. You’ll see what I mean when you get there!

When Cinderella’s estranged mother Mellie goes to Oz in search of her baby-daddy, she needs a crew to deliver the proof of their liaison – her youngest daughter, Ellie – to the Emerald City. Hijacking someone else’s search & rescue crew? Not a problem. So what if it’s the feared Fairy Queen Morgana’s rescue mission to find her only son.

A cowardly lion and a brainless scarecrow as per the manual are already lined up for the save. The tin-man is already in Oz…somewhere. Darn those iron mirror portals and fae men. Read More…

Book Review Alert: Cinders: Necessary Evil by Sky Sommers

Reviewed: April 4th, 2021
Release Date: December 21st, 2020

Genre: Fantasy/Fairytale retelling

Oh, you think you know Cinderella? She loses a shoe and in exchange gets a prince.

Here’s a double book that tells all – the stepmother’s side supplemented by Ella’s diary of the events. If Thumbelina was more Roald Dahl and suitable for kids, this one is a dark fairy tale adaptation for a more adult (18+) audience in the vein of Sarah Pinborough’s Charm and Jackson Pearce’s Sweetly.

This is such a clever book!! Laugh out loud in places and Sommers makes you think twice about what you thought was the truth. A very well written, thought provoking book, as all fairy tales should be. Read More…

Author Interview – Rosalyn Briar

Author of A Sea of Pearls and Leaves

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Rosalyn Briar. Author of the fairy tale retelling A Sea of Pearls and Leaves.

Welcome Rosalyn. Thank you so much for joining me. To start us off please tell us about your latest book.

Rosalyn: My most recent release is a dark fantasy fairy tale retelling called A Sea of Pearls & Leaves. It is a retelling of the Grimm’s Fairy Tale “The Three Snake-Leaves,” but with a twist.

Helen: It is a lovely story, and I must admit I didn’t know the fairy tale until I read your book. For me, it was a new story which was lovely. You can find my book review here. Tell us about the genre you write and why.

Rosalyn: I write dark fantasy and it’s usually some sort of fairy tale retelling. I have always loved fairy tales, folklore, and mythology, so dark fantasy allows me to play with those themes while adding magic and a dash of horror. 

Helen: Such fun! and you get to rewrite the heroes and villains how you want them. Who do you prefer writing about, the good guys or the bad guys?

Rosalyn: Although I certainly love my heroes and enjoy writing them, there is definitely a special place in my heart for villains. I think this is because when reading books or watching movies, I am usually rooting for the villain, especially if they have unique powers or strong motivations. The next book I am planning actually has a hero-to-villain arc or a “fall to evil” arc for the main character—so essentially a villain origin story. I look forward to diving into how a villain comes to be.

Helen: The art of writing is so complex, so much to think about! Do you prefer writing over editing?

Roslayn: I actually enjoy editing more! I can edit with smaller chunks of time, which makes it easier for me to do with my kids around. Writing, I need long spans of time alone, which are hard to come by. I also enjoy how editing really brings the story together and how each little “layer” of edits can improve the story.

Helen: I think with editing a rough idea becomes more polished. In the excitement of getting words on the paper, grammar goes out the window. When you correct everything the ideas and phrases become so much stronger and it feels so good when the story flows naturally and you know the reading experience is so much better. You have young children, so I bet you are a natural storyteller, but how do you fit in the writing?

Rosalyn: Since I have young children, it can be difficult to write during the daytime (especially this year since I’m helping my oldest with her e-learning for Kindergarten). So, I wake up early to do my writing and get the words down!

Helen: That must be really early! I am a night owl, I must admit I write more late at night. One element of self-publishing I love is designing the book cover. Tell us how you came up with the cover for your book.

Rosalyn: For A Sea of Pearls & Leaves, I wanted the cover to pay homage to the original tale “The Three Snake-Leaves.” So, I knew I wanted a snake and for the cover to have a watery feel. I sketched out the image of the cut up snake with leaves growing out of it and sent that to my cover designer, and they definitely brought the cover to life!

Helen: It is gorgeous and very striking. I love the colour scheme. Thank you so much for chatting with me. Last question, I promise. If you didn’t write fantasy, which other genre tempts you to write a book?

Rosalyn: I would love to write mystery/thrillers. I have always been a fan of reading them and enjoy the twists and turns and secretive characters. Maybe someday, if I feel confident enough, I’ll write one, but writing those takes a lot of skill when it comes to plotting and outlining.

Rosalyn Briar is a former teacher who is married to her high school sweetheart. Together, they have built a beautiful life and have two fearless daughters. Rosalyn is obsessed with gothic fairy tales, scary movies, sun dresses, traveling, and reading books. She is the published author of The Crown of Bones and A Sea of Pearls & Leaves, both of which are fairy tale retellings. Rosalyn is also the host of #NovelBuilding, a daily Twitter question with monthly themes for fellow writers to connect. When Rosalyn isn’t writing or reading, you can find her playing dress up with her two princesses or exploring the woods for wildflowers.

You can reach Rosalyn via her Website or via social media at:


and purchase her book via Amazon:

Link to ebook on: Amazon UK
Link to paperback on Amazon UK

Link to ebook on Amazon US
Link to paperback on Amazon US

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