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Hex Life – Witch Books Fearture 🧙🏻‍♀️😉

To celebrate today’s release of Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery Edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering today, I’m doing a feature on some recent witchy book releases. 
Hex Life is a masterful anthology of eighteen tales of witches. A mix of creepy, kind, feminist and vengeful. Some are even set in their authors’ existing worlds – although these tales stand alone for those, like me, who haven’t previously read their work.
I’ve always been a fan of witchy books so much so that it was one of the ‘I read’ badges I ordered from Felfira Moon. 
For me it probably started with The Worst Witch (Mildred Hubble at Cackle’s Academy) and solidified with Harry Potter. Who doesn’t like the idea of having magical powers or going to magic school? I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter! 

The last few months have seen a bonanza of Witch themed books released and my Halloween loving heart is going to have an amazing October reading them all.

Sabrina: Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan
A prequel to the Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina sees Sabrina casting a spell to see how Harvey feels about her.

Sanctuary by V V James
The death of a star quarterback sees his ex-girlfriend, the daughter of a witch, accused.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
An unlikely marriage between a witch and a witchhunter will surely go down in flames.

Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan
Sisters, Sacrifice and witchcraft as twins remove to a strange mountain town where teenage girls go missing.
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
A complicated woman’s investigation at a hidden school of witchcraft and wizardry.

I just want to highlight one of the tales from Hex Life, though it’s hard to pick a favourite with a collection this strong – and beautiful. Look at that detail! Widow’s Walk By Angel Slatter gave me Practical Magic’s “aunties” feels with the elderly witchy residents taking wayward young women into the fold. It twists tropes and has a purrfect ending.

A huge thanks to Titan for the gifted copy hardback copy of Hex life. The other books featured are a mix of gifted review copies and book subscription box featured books. A bonus mention to my stunning replica of Defence Against the Dark Arts by AlarmEighteen which I’m partway through reading.

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Wonderland Blog Tour – Book Review

Good morning and welcome to my spot on the blog tour for this anthology of work inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 
I think most people are somewhat familiar with the original stories. My first introduction to Alice, I’m fairly sure, was via the Disney animated film, and to be honest I’m not convinced if I’ve even fully read the original stories. I really must rectify that soon (would love a MinaLima to design an edition btw). The genre bending children’s fantasy, has definite horrific aspects and many a joke has been made about what Carroll was on when he wrote these tales. They are a true classic, and have been a springboard for many a spin off or retelling both on film, and on the page. 
The majority of the works in this anthology are short stories although these are bookended by two poems by Jane Yolen. The second of which I preferred. Some of the tales may be better appreciated by people who are familiar with the originals but despite this most can stand alone. 
I was only familiar with 3 of the 20 names associated and so I had the pleasure of being introduced to other authors, some of whose other work I am now likely to seek out as a result. 
There is something for everyone in here, but as with most short story collections perhaps not everything will be for everyone. Stories that although are well written, don’t quite make that connection. There’s historical, contemporary and futuristic tales in fantasy, science fiction, horror, historical and more. Topics such as capitalism and child abuse are discovered. Not be shelved in the children’s section next to the original. And most of the characters from Hatter to Cheshire, The Jabberwock, and even the more obscure Walrus, appear in one form or another across these tales. For me there were many more hits than misses and I will mention a few of the hits next. 
First up is the author I was most familiar with – MR Carey with There Were No Birds to Fly. The tonal similarity with his other works was apparent. That apocalyptic creepiness. Oddly this was the least recognisable in terms of its connection to the original, until the very end. Carey shows that being inspired by something can still lead to a highly original story. 
Next was Genevieve Cogman. I was aware of her and have her Invisible Library series waiting on my TBR. Her tale The White Queen’s Pawn had a wry and dark humour, and a be careful what you wish for moral. I definitely plan to bump her tales up the list. 
And the stand out for me was Cavan Scott’s Dream Girl. I won’t mention the genre as that is sort of a spoiler in itself but it was perfection. It reminded me of  the Wizard of Oz/Wicked retelling and I would love to be able to read a longer work based on what this becomes at the end of the story. 
Thank you to Titan for the gifted review copy and to editors Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane for bringing this together. Do check out the rest of the blog tour stops to see which stories stood out to everyone else. 

Sandmare

Happy Halloween 👻 🎃 everyone – here’s a nice creepy piece of short fiction I wrote a while back. Hope you enjoy!!!


Sandmare

That’s what he saw first on his early morning jog over the dunes. Their feet.

At first he thought he might have interrupted something private, something that is usually and more comfortably best achieved indoors. Their feet were intertwined, touching toe to toe. On hers were two silver toe rings in twisted metal. He apologised then to their twisted faces. Eyes open they looked into each other’s eyes and saw forever and nowhere all at once.

He was not ashamed to scream as the crab scuttled over her hand. His dog lurched forward to lap at the dried blood that had once been dripping down from the gunshot between her eyes. The man was worse, his shot was through the mouth up into his brain. The congealed mess and sound of the dog’s lapping made him feel sick and he vomited. 

Turned away from the scene he knelt in the sand no longer able to stand. He dialled 999 all the while trying to think of his response to ‘What’s your emergency?’ When the question came, he vomited again and spat out, ‘They’re both dead. Beach. Come quick.’

He spotted the gun then, in the man’s hand, and wondered if the girl had had a choice in this or if she had just been on her dream date watching a beautiful sunset with her lover. 

When he heard the siren’s wail he wept and his dog, inquisitive and drawn to his sobs came close, nuzzled up and licked his tears.

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