Review: Kingdom of Thorns

Kingdom of Thorns by Katherine Macdonald

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


A curse is placed on a princess, doomed to sleep for one hundred years after pricking her finger. A Prince is determined to save her Kingdom to save his own. And a mysterious guide will take him to the cursed castle if he follows all of her rules.

Kingdom of Thorns is a fun, action-packed retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty story. Both protagonists are likable and their banter is wonderful. I really loved Leo the most, though, because of his teddy-bear-like personality. He is sweet but also insecure which is a relatable quality but something that I loved seeing him overcome. Overall, however, I felt that the author did well with bringing depth to both characters.

The world was fantastical with just enough description to keep it interesting. Plot-wise, I was surprised by the unique take of this beloved fairytale. I was also impressed by all of the dangers and monsters that both guide and the Prince encountered and conquered together. Yet, despite all of the action, I felt like the middle dragged a little and I found myself wanting to skip through it to get to the end.

I also love the exploration of consent and healthy relationships in this book. Gender norms were flipped on its head and I liked seeing the Prince needing saving for once.

In all, I really enjoyed this fairytale retelling and would recommend it to anyone who likes strong characters and all the whumps. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars but rounded it up to 5.


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Book Information

  • Stand alone book
  • Clean romance with allusion to closed door sex scenes
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance
  • Audience: YA/NA
  • Some swearing

Favorite Quote

“Afraid isn’t the word I would use. Terrified might be better. Or… petrified. Yes. Petrified is good.”

“Do you always complain this much?”

“Only when I’m way out of my depth and panicking,” he said. “So quite a lot, actually.”

Book Blurb

Cursed at her Christening, Briar is doomed to prick her finger on a spinning wheel on her seventeenth birthday and plunge her kingdom into eternal slumber. Less than enthused about her fate, she fights to break it, but a hundred years later the kingdom lies at the centre of a forest of thorns. The curse is complete and only true love’s kiss will break it.

Volunteering in the place of his brother, Leo is determined to brave the enchanted forest and attempt to end the hundred-year-old curse. If he fails, the dark fairy, imprisoned within the Kingdom of Thorns, will be unleashed upon the world and a kingdom will fall to ruin.

Guided by a mysterious young ranger named Talia, he sets off on his quest, but the darkness isn’t the only thing that grows in the woods, and Leopold finds himself locked in a bitter fight for his life, his sanity… and his heart.

A tale of true love, inner strength, and the power of free will. No damsels in distress here; just action, mesmerising description, and delightful witty banter.

Book Review: Eidolon

Eidolon by Grace Draven

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A new force of destruction threatens to shatter everything that Ildiko and Brishen have built as a couple. War is upon them and together they must decide if duty outweighs love.

This is the second book of the Wraith Kings series and for the most part, I enjoyed it. The prologue was very intense and the angst that followed was so heartbreaking.

I also absolutely love Ildiko and Brishen together. They are such lovely characters and an even more lovelier couple.

If you found the previous book to be lacking plot-wise, the sequel amped it up. There is world-building galore, action, death, and higher stakes to be dealt with. Magic is also a huge part of this book as well for those who enjoy that.

However, with that said, there were many parts that I found myself skipping through. There was a lot of information that was unpacked in this but some of you might enjoy that since it added to the overall fantasy of the world.

For those of you who like unique couples, angst, action, and crazy magical rituals, then I think you would be very happy with this book.


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Book Content

  • Author: Grace Draven
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance
  • Audience: Adult 18+
  • Series: #2 of the Wraith Kings Series
  • Heat level: Spicy (Some graphic sex scenes)
  • Content Warning: Lots of death

Favorite Quote

“I would have been content to live my life as just Brishen,” he whispered into her hair.  “Who was loved by Ildiko.”

― Grace Draven, Eidolon

Book Blurb

In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis has unleashed a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by a diseased darkness and on the brink of war. His human wife Ildiko must decide if she will give up the man she loves in order to secure his throne.

Three enemy kingdoms must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king must raise an army of the dead to defeat an army of the damned.

A tale of alliance and sacrifice.

Book Review: Radiance

Radiance by Grace Draven

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An arranged marriage is made to the most unconventional couple: Ildiko, a noblewoman, and Brishen, a creature of the night. With their marriage comes a stronger union between their nations. Although they come from different worlds, love has a way of bringing people together in the most unlikely of ways.

Radiance is the first of the Wraith Kings series and I looked forward to reading this for quite some time. When I finally got to it, I was not disappointed. Although slow at times, I enjoyed how unique this arranged marriage trope was. It was the first time that I had read a story where both parties found each other quite ugly and practically unbearable to look at. While she looks like a pale, gross shellfish to him, he looks like a thing of Ildiko’s nightmares. Glowing yellow eyes would be a little disconcerting at first, not gonna lie.

It was a refreshing take that I found myself eating up the whole way.

Despite their differences, I loved how their strengths and personalities were highlighted the most. Since both of them saw each other as physically unattractive, their focus was then honed in on their character. So, if you are looking for some insta-pining of looks, you will not find it here. Instead, you will find a slow-burn that gradually turns into love.

It is quite a sweet friends to lovers tale.

However, I did wish there was a little more tension between them. I prefer those “almost” moments but this was a more realistic take on two people coming together and learning to admire each other through their marriage. I respect it for that but still found some parts of the book to be a little lacking.

Regardless, I enjoyed reading this book immensely and gave it a 4.5. If you are looking for a unique arranged marriage between a human and a mysterious humanoid-like creature, then this is the book for you! I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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Book Information

  • #1 in the Wraith Kings Series
  • Heat level: A little spicy (expect some sex scenes)
  • Content Warning: Mentions of child death/murder, torture
  • Audience: Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance, Paranormal

Favorite Quote

“You make a very handsome dead eel, my husband,”

“For a boiled mollusk, you wear black quite well, my wife,”

Grace Draven, Radiance

Book Blurb

The Prince of no value
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

The noblewoman of no importance
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

Book Review: Finale

Finale by Stephanie Garber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Both Donatella and Scarlett must race against time once again as ancient powers wreak havoc on their world. Will love be enough to keep them alive or will it become deadly?

Finale is the third and final book of the Caraval series, and it was quite the ride. As I have mentioned in my previous reviews of Caraval and Legendary, the author has a talent for making the reader expect certain outcomes only to flip those expectations on its head. There were many moments where I was unsure of how our heroes would come on top and I was surprised by the outcome.

Surprised in a… not so good way.

I was not as impressed with how the main issue of the book was resolved. Although it was a unique approach, I was not a fan of the logic nor the execution of the characters’ plan and felt like the ending was a little rushed. It felt like the author was trying to get past the overall conflict so that the sappy ending could happen.

However, with that said, I did not hate the book. Despite my other issues with Scarlett’s plotline in the beginning, I did actually enjoy Finale a lot. I think it is because I was in love with the characters and I am a sap for a good romance. And boy was the romance so good! My heart still aches for a certain character I shall not name but I was really pleased with both Scarlett and Donatella’s endings.

The magic in this book was still just as charming and mysterious. There was so much uniqueness about the world that I became just as entranced as I did the first and second time. Not only that, the author is gifted with writing complex characters that grow and learn in all of the best ways. It was a sweet ending to a magical series.

So, overall, I had a great reading experience and gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars but rounded up to 5 stars because I love the series as a whole so much.

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Book Information

  • YA
  • Fantasy Romance
  • Content Warning: Death
  • #3 and LAST book of the Caraval series

Favorite QUote

“I used to be scared of it, but now I think love is another type of magic. It makes everything brighter, it makes people who have it stronger, it breaks rules that aren’t supposed to exist, it’s infinitely valuable.”

Stephanie Garber, Finale

Book Blurb

Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series! A ll games must come to an end…

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates were freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella saw Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finally, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun—with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything.

Book Review: Legendary

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The game continues and Legendary (the second book of the Caraval series) follows the younger, carefree sister, Donatella. There are promises to fulfill and more mysteries to solve. But the answers she is looking for will require the greatest sacrifice.

The magic keeps getting better. There was so much revealed in this book that added to the complexity of the world. Everything that I thought I knew about the game was turned upside down again. I love how the author was able to keep the game just as interesting and magical as the first time around.

Tella was a wonderful character to follow. She is brave if not reckless and keeps secrets of her own. I was very pleased by how complex she was as a character and wanted to see her succeed. Even though she is very different from her sister, I loved that they compliment each other and help one another grow in ways that they would not have otherwise.

And did I mention the romance yet? No? Well, there is more of that waiting for you in this sequel. Despite Tella’s aversion to the idea of falling in love, her journey to romance swept me off my feet. I enjoyed all of her interactions with a certain someone I shall not name but let’s just say they were… legendary.

Ha, see what I did there?

Ha… ha…. okay, I’ll stop.

Overall, I loved this book and I have already bought and started reading the last installment of this series. I cannot wait!

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Content

  • Heat Level: Clean
  • YA
  • Fantasy Romance
  • #2 in the Caraval series

Favorite Quote

“Not everyone gets a true ending. There are two types of endings because most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most. only those who persevere can find their true ending.”

Stephanie Garber

Book Blurb

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever…

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun. 

Book Review: Caraval

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scarlett has dreamed of Caraval–a place of magic and wishes. However, she is trapped on her island, promised to be married to a man she has never met. When her sister, Donatella, schemes to take them both to Caraval, nothing is as it seems and Scarlett must race against time to win the game.

I was recommended this book and wow… I loved it.

Caraval is a magical place that swept me off my feet. The magic is whimsical and I loved that timeless, yet odd aura that the game exuded. It was definitely an Alice and Wonderland and creepy carnival mashup.

Scarlett was a very sympathetic character to me. I could relate to her anxieties and fears very well. I liked that she was a worried sister anxious to return home to avoid their father’s wrath. Even though she thought of those things often, it did not bother me in the slightest because I felt like it was real. She was a real person who was very scared and I would be thinking of those things as often as she did as well. As an anxious person myself, I can attest to the obsessive thoughts and so I believe the author nailed that on the head.

The plot was also very intriguing to me. There were so many surprises that kept me on my toes. Everything that I had guessed would happen, the plot would take and turn on its head. It was a trip that I really enjoyed all the way to the end.

Writing-wise, I enjoyed Garber’s whimsical metaphors. It is very poetic and feels very… “Alice and Wonderland” to me which I appreciated. Some may not like the way she writes, things like:

“He tasted like midnight and wind, and shades of rich brown and light blue. Colors that made her feel safe and guarded.”

Stephanie Garber

I know tasting midnight is impossible but it does provide interesting imagery for the reader to interpret. And honestly? I like it and I believe it added to the overall atmosphere of the book.

I also enjoyed the romance and felt that despite the short amount of time Scarlett had with Julian, their relationship progressed naturally. Honestly, I was surprised by how it all turned out but was also very pleased as well.

In all, Caraval is a fun book filled with twists and turns and above all: magic. I also loved the themes of getting over your fears and learning to be bold and take fate into your own hands. I struggle with being brave and taking chances in life and so I feel like this was a book that spoke to me personally. I cannot wait to read the sequel.



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Book Information

  • Heat level: Clean
  • Content Warning: Parental abuse and suicide
  • Audience: Young Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance

Favorite Quote

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

Stephanie Garber

Book Blurb

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

Book Review: The Clown

The Clown by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


There is no way out and Cora has finally accepted her fate. Stuck in an “inversion”–a pocket dimension–her attraction for a dangerous man deepens. But, acceptance does not mean peace and there are other dangers in the form of smiling faces. 

The writing in this story is phenomenal. Kingsley has always captured my heart by the poetic way she strings words together. It is modern, dark, but also classic in a “creepy-vintage-circus” way that I love. 

Cora continues to be my favorite in this series. I am really attached to her and love the way she handles situations. She is growing as a character and really blooming into her new role in the Faire. I also love how organic and sweet her interactions are with Clown. Although his intentions are vague and ominous, his POV was a welcome addition to the story. 

As for Simon? His wicked antics were amped UP. The reader is reminded again that he is not a “good” man and he is very much still insane. There were moments where I was turned off by his toxic behavior but Kingsley still does a good job stating that these behaviors are NOT right but this is who he is. Despite this, he proved to have other sides that were soft and fluffy. 

The first two books did not have any sex in them but this book seems to have made up for that fact. The heat level is REAL my friends. If you were wondering when that was going to happen… trust me, you will find it here. However, I was a little disappointed by how it all led to that moment. The first two books were leading up to this and yet, it fell a little flat to me. 

I personally read romance for the romance and not the sex and there was an abundance of it. But for those who look for that in your books, it was… NOT vanilla to say the least. Despite this, I still enjoyed it and understand that this is an adult book, a DARK one at that, and those who want that HEAT will be very pleased. 

Plot-wise, there was not a whole lot going on besides Cora and Simon’s relationship. I really like that but I found that I was not devouring this one as much as the first two. The ending, however, was great and I was pleased by the outcome.

In all, I enjoyed it and will come back for more.


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Favorite Quote

“First of all, I’m not your boss. Second of all, I’m not stupid enough to waste my breath. And third, I don’t want to fix you, Simon.” She snickered. “Anybody who looks at you and goes, ‘he’s just moody and misunderstood, I can fix him with a little casual sex,’ needs to get their own freaking head examined.” She set down her coffee mug. “I know exactly who you are. Do I approve of your puppets? No. But I didn’t go into this naïve. Whatever the hell ‘this’ is.”

Book Blurb

A friendly face and laughing heart…will be what tears her soul apart.

Finally accepting that there would be no leaving Harrow Faire, Cora sets out to try to find her new way of life as part of the Family. With that comes her slow acceptance of her attraction toward and, even worse, her feelings for the Puppeteer.

But just as things seemed to be falling into a pattern, things turn upside down—seemingly literally—as Harrow Faire enters “the Inversion.” And her troubles don’t end there when the mute Clown takes a keen interest in her. One that she doesn’t understand until it’s too late.

Mr. Harrow took her from her life to become the Contortionist. But it seems…the Faire itself has other plans.
__________________
If you’re drawn to compelling villains and sinister love stories, The Clown—book three of the Harrow Faire series by Kathryn Ann Kingsley—is your next book obsession! Dark fantasy and occult horror blend seamlessly with romance in this gripping page-turner!

ARC Review: Bloodscourge

Bloodscourge by Sydney Winward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elisabeta is a skilled thief, forced to live off of her plunders and stolen goods. When her twin brother hears word that there is a treasure worth more than gold, she sets out to take it. However, the treasure is hidden in the vampire city and the captain of the guard holds the key. As a human, going into the vampire city is like going into the den of lions but she will do whatever it takes to obtain it, even if it means seducing the brute Dracula.

From the beginning, I was captivated. Call me old school, but I love a good vampire story and this did not disappoint. The author’s take on vampires is unique with bits of familiarity: no sunlight or reflections here.

I was also very happy about Dracula. Even though he is not your traditional “I vant to suck your blood” kind of Dracula, I could tell that the author did her research and was making nods to the man who inspired the myth and legend: Vlad the impaler. I loved seeing bits of that history in this version. Not only that, he is a big brute that you cannot help but love. He is a little rough around the edges with a squishy, soft interior for those he calls his family.

His interactions with Elisabeta are simply delectable. Her sassy attitude mixes well with his “tough guy” exterior and they have awesome chemistry together. This book is filled with flirting and “almost” moments that make you squeal and sigh.

I also really liked Elisabeta as a character. Although she is very flawed and may make decisions that you want to pull your hair out over, you cannot help but feel for her and her situation. Without giving too much away, I appreciated how the author handles abuse and how abuse victims may act under certain circumstances. It is not always pretty but it’s real.

In all, I loved this book and I am excited to read the next installment.

For those who love vampires and who want to see a fresh, new take on them and Dracula will love this story. If you also love romance, emotional rollercoasters, and happy endings, this is the book for you.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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Content Warning

Behind the door sex scene, and themes of abuse and child death.

Buy The Book

Bloodscourge will be available on March 1, 2021

Buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple Books

Favorite Quote

“Now look what you did,” he said quietly. “You just broke the rules.”

Panic clutched her from the inside out. “What? I thought the Game had no rules.”

“Not that game,” he said, rolling his eyes. Her breath hitched as he trailed his thumb across her bottom lip. “This one. Distracting me in battle.”

She trembled beneath his touch. He had never looked at her that way before, with an intense passion seeping from his eyes. Warmth spread from her toes to her fingertips to her heart and to her lips that desperately wanted to be kissed. Right then, seducing him no longer mattered because she couldn’t do it. She didn’t want to use him for her own personal gains. But what did matter was how close he was, close enough to feel his breath on her skin.

Book Blurb

Fate has given her a second chance. The only things Elisabeta knows how to do is lie, cheat, and swindle. When her brother learns of a treasure worth kingdoms lying in the heart of Ichor Knell, the great vampire city, he sends her to steal it. However, the key to the treasury is safeguarded by the captain of the guard, a brute named Dracula.

Dracula cannot resist the beautiful and mysterious Elisabeta. As danger erupts in Ichor Knell, he is forced into a precarious position to resist the evil within the city and to protect his family and the woman he cares for immensely.

Despite the connection he feels for her, the secrets she hides could be deadly to them both. Will the truth tie them for eternity or set them on a path of destruction?

Book Review: The Puppeteer

The Puppeteer by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cora is now trapped in a world she had believed to be impossible. Yet, she refuses to accept her fate. She will fight until she is free but will it cost more than she bargained for?

The second installment of the Harrow Faire series did not disappoint. Kingsley is gifted with story-telling and creating complex characters that I never thought I would root for. I was looking forward to learning more about our insane Puppeteer and I was delighted by the outcome.

Although Simon is insane and by no means innocent, he is full of charm and wit that pulls you in for more. I loved that despite his misgivings, there were lines that he was not willing to cross which made him more likable and sympathetic.

Cora was amazing. Simply amazing. I love her so much and I am more than happy that she recognizes how to pick her battles and when she picks them? She goes all out. I chuckled more than once during some of her interactions with Simon and loved that she was sensible as always.

I was also charmed by the romance. I am usually not so forgiving when it comes to toxic relationships but Kingsley has masterfully handled this one very well. Both characters are imperfect but they both grow and learn together. It’s dark but also complex enough to keep me interested.

Overall, I cannot get enough of this series and am off to read book three!

Tata!


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Content Warning

Language and suggestive, sexual conversations. 18+

Favorite Quote

“I’m not brave. All I’ve done is panic since I got here.”

“Is that so?” He was still stroking her cheek. She didn’t know when she stopped being afraid of his touch. All it left behind now was warmth, and a strange electricity that crackled through her. He hummed thoughtfully. “I am not so sure. You came here to save your friend, knowing it would be your own demise. You have stood up to me at every opportunity. I think you are not as weak as you have come to believe.”

Book Blurb

Silver strings she can’t outrun…her trouble now has just begun.

After Cora Glass’s life was stolen by Harrow Faire, things just keep going from bad to worse. Unable to run, unable to escape, there seems to be no way to avoid what she’s become—the Contortionist. But a girl can only take so much.

Haunted by an abandoned and seemingly sentient circus? Fine.
The life of her best friend threatened unless she sacrificed herself? Fine.
Tormented and stalked by a grinning madman who wanted to kill her, and now wants to do worse? That’s where Cora has to draw the line.

As she struggles with the knowledge that magic is real and she will never go home again, she is also forced to contend with the advances of a man who may be the devil himself. And just like the tales of old, she finds herself drawn to him. If only Harrow Faire would slow down and give her a second to catch her breath.

Too bad that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

__________________
If you’re drawn to compelling villains and sinister love stories, The Puppeteer—book two of the Harrow Faire series by Kathryn Ann Kingsley—is your next book obsession! Dark fantasy and occult horror blend seamlessly with romance in this gripping page-turner!

Bloodscourge: Book Tour with Author Sydney Winward

Sydney Winward

Title: Bloodscourge #3 in The Bloodborn Series

Book Release Date: March 1, 2021

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Artist: Abigail Owen

Genre: Adult Paranormal romance

Thank you so much for joining me on my blog today, Sydney!

I am a big fan of your Bloodborn series. I do have to say, though, vampires have been creatures of interest in popular media and fans like myself can’t get enough of them. What inspired you to write about them? 

Honestly, I wasn’t planning on writing about them at all. But I came across an interesting prompt on Pinterest that I wanted to try out, and it ended up turning into a book, and later a series. Part of my writing process involves drawing character inspiration from pictures, so when I found the two perfect images for the main characters, that helped inspire me as well.

I love that your inspiration came from pictures, that is so unique. I have also heard that this is your favorite book that you have written in your Bloodborn series. That makes me so excited. What about this book makes it unique from the rest? 

I’d have to say the characters. Dracula is very different from what I have written so far. He’s fearsome. Brash. A bit sadistic. But he has a heart of gold. Or stone. It depends on who you ask. He’s willing to do absolutely anything for family, even to his very last breath.

Elisabeta was fun to write as well. Despite being squashed by her brother’s thumb, she’s brave enough to walk into the heart of the vampire city of Ichor Knell as a human disguised as a vampire. Unlike Dracula, she’s very selfish and willing to do horrible things to get what she wants. The two of them make an interesting pair.

Oooh, an interesting pair indeed! Speaking of your characters, Dracula is an iconic figure for horror and paranormal fans alike. Where did you draw inspiration for your new, exciting version of Dracula?  

After writing Bloodborn, when Dracula is first mentioned, I realized he had such a sad backstory, and he needed happiness of his own. Even if that happiness was found 1000 years before Bloodborn. I had to tell his story. I drew a lot of inspiration from the original Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Dracula), but I put my own twist on him.

I love that you took inspiration from history and I am even happier that he can have his own love story. Now a question from a fan: Where would I find Dracula in Ichor Knell?  

In Bloodscourge, Dracula is far from the King of the Vampires yet. In fact, he’s the captain of the guard. A poor peasant with little to offer a future mate. He spends most of his time training recruits and taking care of those he calls his family when the danger in Ichor Knell reaches its peak.

What a noble man–err, vampire! I have a soft spot for strong, caring love interests. Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book?

I prefer writing in complete silence, though music does often inspire scenes in my books. The perfect song for Dracula’s book is Natural by Imagine Dragons.

That is a great song for Dracula! Now a little more about you. What is your all-time favorite movie?

Ooooh. I have a few. I love Stardust, the live-action Cinderella, Lord of the Rings, Little Women, How to Train Your Dragon.

Ah, I am so happy that we have similar tastes! What superpower would you like to have?

Shapeshifting would be the coolest superpower. If I could transform into any person or animal, that would be awesome. I’ve always liked Mystique from X-Men.

Shapeshifting would be bomb, not going to lie. Which is your favorite season to write in and why?

Either Spring or Fall. I love to write when it’s dark outside at night and rain is coming down hard on the roof. Even better if I crack open a window to let the smell of rain into the room.

That sounds so nice–to be able to write while it’s raining. There’s something nostalgic about that kind of setting. Speaking of, if you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

I had to look up places with cool castles. Some things that often come up in my fantasy/paranormal books are castles, forests, and rivers. So I’d say the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.

Haha! I had to look it up as well and–wow! That is a gorgeous castle. So dreamy! On a different note, for aspiring authors like myself, what advice would you give to those writers starting out?

Whether you plan to self-publish or traditionally publish, definitely produce a polished, finished product. Good editing. Professional cover. And above all, patience. It’s exciting to get a book out, but if the quality isn’t so great because of it, then it will only hurt you in the end.

I love that. Patience is a virtue so they say! Thank you for the advice, Sydney. And lastly, are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

I am soooo in love with my current WIP. I spent several months trying to figure out what my next project would be. I sifted through writing prompts. I looked at dozens of pictures for character inspiration. And finally after a long, frustrating time of waiting for inspiration to hit me, I found my next project.

It’s about a fae prince whose brother is so jealous of his magic that he kills the woman he loves and forces him to work as a slave while the rest of the world thinks he’s dead. No matter how many times he’s tried to escape his enslavement, he fails every time. It’s only when the operation is thwarted by a group of Valkyries intent on killing every man they come across when he finds hope for the very first time. Instead of killing him, a Valkyrie rescues him. However, if her Valkyrie sisters find out her secret, she could be killed.

“He was a survivor. And survivors were the most dangerous kinds of people.”

Oooh! That sounds so intriguing! I am so excited for this to be published. But, thank you so much for stopping by, Sydney. We can’t wait to get our hands on Bloodscourge.

Book Blurb

Fate has given her a second chance. The only things Elisabeta knows how to do is lie, cheat, and swindle. When her brother learns of a treasure worth kingdoms lying in the heart of Ichor Knell, the great vampire city, he sends her to steal it. However, the key to the treasury is safeguarded by the captain of the guard, a brute named Dracula.


Dracula cannot resist the beautiful and mysterious Elisabeta. As danger erupts in Ichor Knell, he is forced into a precarious position to resist the evil within the city and to protect his family and the woman he cares for immensely.


Despite the connection he feels for her, the secrets she hides could be deadly to them both. Will the truth tie them for eternity or set them on a path of destruction?

Excerpt

“Now look what you did,” he said quietly. “You just broke the rules.”

Panic clutched her from the inside out. “What? I thought the Game had no rules.”

“Not that game,” he said, rolling his eyes. Her breath hitched as he trailed his thumb across her bottom lip. “This one. Distracting me in battle.”

She trembled beneath his touch. He had never looked at her that way before, with an intense passion seeping from his eyes. Warmth spread from her toes to her fingertips to her heart and to her lips that desperately wanted to be kissed. Right then, seducing him no longer mattered because she couldn’t do it. She didn’t want to use him for her own personal gains. But what did matter was how close he was, close enough to feel his breath on her skin. 

“Kiss me,” she breathed, not able to handle the tension anymore.

“Dear Elisabeta,” he grinned wickedly, “that’s not how this game works. There are rules.”

He kissed her below her ear, and her heart nearly collapsed as the tension thickened. It was all she could do to force out her words. “I don’t like rules.”

“I’ve noticed,” he whispered in her ear.

About Sydney Winward

Sydney Winward is a multi-published author born with an artistic brain and a love of discovery for new talents. From drawing to sewing to music, she has loved to explore every opportunity that comes her way. At a young age, Sydney discovered her love of writing, and she hasn’t been able to stop writing since. Her active imagination and artistic mind take her away to different worlds and time periods, making every new story a fantastic adventure. When she is not writing (or fawning over animals in the neighborhood) she spends time with her husband and children at home in Utah.

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