White as Witching

Katherine Buel. (268p) ISBN 9798845843753

White as Witching

White as Witching

I was so glad I asked for, and received this on NetGalley.

One of the better fairy tale retellings I’ve ever read and there has been a lot of them over the past few years, some better than others.

This pulled you in right from the start with a great pace that made you really want to find out what was going to happen next.

A beautiful story about love, justice, sacrifice, and redemption all based around various iterations of the Snow White story, and including bits from other fairy tales and mythologies thrown in for good measure.

What big eyes you have

The main character Snow, initially sets out on a traditional journey, one of hate and revenge, hardened by her experiences and memories.

This changes throughout the book until her truth is exposed and we can join her on her true journey.

An exceedingly well-paced retelling, twisting parts of what feels like old Germanic/Celtic folklore into the storytelling, especially with Herne and the depiction of the dwarves (had a bit of a feel of Wagner in there).

Kept you guessing right until the end on which path was going to be explored and tread.

and I was right about the twist in the middle though!

The October Witches

Jennifer Claessen. UCLan Publishing. (352p) ISBN 9781912979905

The October Witches

The October Witches

I’ve finally got around to using NetGalley properly and what a first book to set off with.

From the magnificent cover all the way to the last words this is a brilliant magical adventure full of heart, family, and friendship.

This is the tale of the Merlyns and Morgans, the descendants of the first two witches, Merlyn (a woman not a man) and Morgan, who fought each other for power and in the end limited witches power to the month of October.

Clem is the main protagonist of the story who has just come into her power this October and becomes the fifth point of a star and the key to a plan her mum and aunts have been planning to make the magic last all year round, but the dastardly Morgans interrupt this plan and try to enact their own plan to have magic all year round and to control the world.

Full of excellent characters from Bobby the pony to the bumbling but mysterious postman, full of Aunts and young hags, I raced through this story never wanting it to end but desperate to find out what happens, and it seems to have been set up for a sequel, hopefully next October


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Kate and Liz Corr – Q&A

Daughter of Darkness

Daughter of Darkness

About DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS, an original fantasy inspired by ancient Greek myth:

Welcome to a Greece where the great bronze age cities, never fell. Where the heroes disappeared, but the ancient gods never retreated. Where magic manipulates nature, and the greatest crime of all is failing to believe in the divinity of the gods…

Deina is trapped. Bound to the House of Hades as a Soul Severer, she’s responsible for shepherding souls through death to their rightful place in the Underworld. So when the tyrant Orpheus offers fortune and freedom to whichever Severer can bring his wrife, Eurydice, back from the dead, Deina jumps at the chance.

But to succeed she must enter into an uneasy alliance with a band of fellow Severers: a fighter, a scholar, a singer and a thief. Together they will journey into the deadly realm of Hades.

Deina’s freedom is within reach – but what will it take to claim it?

The Underworld awaits…

You can find the Corr sisters at:
Website: Corrsisters.com
Twitter: @katharinecorr / @lizcorr_writes
Instagram: @katharinecorrwrites / @lizcorrwrites

Tell me what inspired you to write your novel?

Liz and I had talked about writing characters who could travel back and forth between life and after-life, and we both love Greek mythology, which is full of characters who journey to the Underworld. Orpheus is the most famous of those characters, so we decided to take that myth as our initial jumping off point for the book that became Daughter Of Darkness. We were also intrigued by two questions: what if the Bronze Age kingdoms that inspired the Iliad hadn’t disappeared, and what if Eurydice didn’t want to come back from the dead?

What came first, the characters or the world?

Deina, our main character, came first. We wanted to write about a thief, someone who was more of an underdog and more morally grey than the protagonists in our previous novels. The scene of her planning a theft in the hot, dusty streets of an ancient city was the first thing we wrote for Daughter Of Darkness.

How long did it take to write?

Longer than we expected! For a start, we were writing during the second and third phases of lockdown. We found the lockdown in the first few months of 2021 really difficult; it was hard to be creative. Liz had to home school her children too. We also realised, about 30 thousand words in, that the voice wasn’t working, so we had to go back to the beginning and re-write it…. Tedious, but definitely worth it.

Do you have a writing playlist?

Liz does – she especially loves listening to Two Steps From Hell. I’d love to have a writing playlist but I can only work in complete silence unfortunately!

What’s the favourite reaction you’ve had to your book?

We’ve already had lots of lovely reviews, and we appreciate every single one. It’s such a boost when someone reads your work and loves it AND takes the time to post about it. But, if I had to pick one review, it would be that from @gaz_the_reader. Gary has been a huge supporter of our writing ever since our first book came out in the summer of 2016, so it was lovely that he read Daughter Of Darkness and then felt moved to post on Instagram ‘The Queens of fantasy have done it again.’

What can you tell us about your next book?

Our next book is the second half of the House of Shadows duology. Queen Of Gods will be out next August (fingers crossed); expect more gods, more mythological beings and more death!

Do you take notice of online reviews?

I don’t look at reviews at all. One negative review will make me feel terrible for days, even if it’s offset by 100 positive reviews. Plus, opinions on any kind of art are subjective; no book is for everyone. I think review sites are for readers, not authors.

Would you ever consider writing outside your current genre?

Definitely! Liz and I both have lots of things we want to write, both together and separately, across various genres.

Which author(s) inspire you?

Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Le Guin. Liz and I both really loved Terry Pratchett too, and we both re-read the Discworld books regularly.

Which genres do you read yourself?

All sorts! As well as YA fantasy, I read adult fantasy and science fiction, crime and detective novels, humour, historical fiction, short stories, romance and classics.

What is your biggest motivator?

Connecting with readers who enjoy our books. We had a lovely signing queue at YALC recently, and it was so much fun to chat with everyone.

What will always distract you?

Social media. I have to be really strict with myself or I can waste far too much time on it. Research can be a distraction too, even though it’s necessary. I tend to disappear down rabbit holes and emerge hours later having discovered lots of interesting stuff, but not necessarily the answer to the question I went in with!

How much (if any) say do you have in your book covers?

The Corr Sisters

The Corr Sisters

We’ve always been sent cover ideas for approval, both by Harper Collins (our first publisher) and Hot Key Books. However, we really struck lucky with the cover for Daughter Of Darkness. We told the team at Hot Key how much we loved Micaela Alcaino’s designs, and they got her on board for the project. The result is just stunning. Micaela won Designer of the Year at this year’s British Book Awards and no surprise!

Were you a big reader as a child?

Yes, Liz and I both read a lot. We were lucky that both we and our Nana (we spent a lot of our time with her) lived within easy reach of a library.

What were your favourite childhood books?

As smaller kids we both loved the Narnia books and The Dark Is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper (we both still re-read the second, eponymous book every winter). I had a soft spot for Charlotte’s Web too. As I got older, I fell in love with Austen and Tolkien (queue failed attempt to learn Elvish) and Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast Trilogy. Liz became a fan of Arthur C Clarke.

What books can you not resist buying?

Any new translations or fancy editions of Beowulf. Currently the Seamus Heaney translation is my favourite.

Do you have any rituals when writing?

Tea. Lots and lots of tea. I know I’ve had a good writing day if my desk is crowded with cups, all of which are about three-quarters empty.

How many books are in your own physical TBR pile?

I’ve no idea. I tend to hide new books around the house so all the other books I’ve not yet read can’t see what’s going on and get jealous…

What is your current or latest read?

I’ve recently read and loved Mina & The Slayers (Amy McCaw), Big Little Lies (Liane Moriarty) and The Murder Of Mr Wickham (Claudia Gray). I’m currently reading Tag, You’re Dead by Kathryn Foxfield.

Any events in the near future?

Yes, we will be at the No Limits Festival at Normanby Hall Country Park in September.

What inspired you to write the genre you do?

I’m never going to travel to a magical world in real life, so writing magical worlds is a way to visit my dreams. Plus, in the real world, I hate the fact that good often goes unrewarded and evil often triumphs. It’s satisfying to create worlds where the good guys (mostly, eventually) get to win.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

CP Models

Old Mage

Old Mage

CP Models is based in Hinckley, Leicestershire and have been going for quite a while now.

I’ve bought a few models from here over the years and one of my favourites has always been the Old Mage and their other adventurer fantasy range.

I’ve also used a few of their models for In Her Majesty’s Name, and a few of the Night Terrors for D&D.

Always pleased with the quality of the casts and the quality of the service.

Website: https://cpmodels.co.uk

Address:
Mark Dixon
CP Models
7 Tennyson Road
Hinckley
Leicestershire
LE10 0TH


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.