Review: Realms of Fae and Shadow

Hello fantasy fans, are you ready to discover your next favourite author?

I read the exclusive short story collection Realms of Fae and Shadow recently, and I loved the concept so much. A collection of short stories that all prequel a series of novels, to give you a taste of the stories before you commit to the full series (because, come on, who of us can give up on a series halfway through once we’ve started, even if we’re not loving it? Not me).

So if you’re a fae lover and you’re looking for a new series to get stuck into, keep reading for eight incredible options…

  1. Night Bringer by Stacey Trombley
  2. Heir of Bitter Thorn by Kay L. Moody
  3. Fae Bargains by Clarissa Gosling
  4. To Rule a Fae Throne by Tessonja Odette
  5. Exiling a Fae Queen by Joanna Reeder
  6. Crown of Darkness by Alison Ingleby
  7. Marked by Fae by Valia Lind
  8. The Wolf Gate by Hanna Sandvig

Night Bringer by Stacey Trombley

A terrible bargain.
An impossible choice.
Kill my soul mate or lose my life
.

This is #0.5 in Trombley’s Wicked Fae series, which currently has 4 published books and more to come.

Caelynn is from the Shadow Court, one of the weakest in the realm, but when she overhears her parents’ plan to send her to another court for an arranged marriage, she takes matters into her own hands. And that’s where things take a very dark and deadly turn.

This story has everything you could want – fae, a coming-of-age trial, one of the creepiest monsters I’ve ever read, a ball, soul mates. I could go on. I’m super intrigued by this set up for the full series, Caelynn’s magic is barely hinted at and I can’t wait to see the relationship between the two fated mates develop.

Heir of Bitter Thorn by Kay L. Moody

A mortal girl is tired of her bland existence.

When a dryad offers her the chance to rescue a fae prince from the clutches of an evil queen, Elora immediately agrees.

But Faery is full of more dangers than beauty. 

This is a prequel novella to the Fae of Bitter Thorn series, which has 4 full length novels plus another novella in between. The story has a brave heroine, an animal sidekick, twisted magic and lots of political intrigue.

The fourth and final book is coming out in September, so it’s the perfect time to dive into this series, ready for the conclusion.

Fae Bargains by Clarissa Gosling

Faerie punishments usually spell death.
⁣For Evan, it could offer freedom.⁣

The hero of this story reminded me of Cardan from The Cruel Prince – a young fae male with a good dose of cruelty (he enjoys feeding mortals to a boggart), but deep down he has a bigger heart than he lets on.

There’s only one full length novel in this series so far, but a sequel is coming in 2022, so it’s definitely one to stick on your TBR. I enjoyed this origin story of the Guardian of the Gates, and I’m intrigued to find out more about the relationship between the Huntsman, Prince Evan and his mother, Queen of the Moonlight Court in the Lost Princess of Starlight series.

To Rule a Fae Throne by Tessonja Odette

There are Fae far worse than me lurking in the woods…

King Aspen of the Autumn Court is sent to the the human realm to retrieve the names of the two human tributes that will be sent to marry fae royalty as part of a centuries old pact, called the Hundred Year Reaping. On his way home, he has an eye-opening exchange with a human woman in the woods.

This prequel novella tells the first meeting of Aspen and Evelyn, the main characters from the Fair Isle trilogy, from Aspen’s POV. The series is complete, so it’s ready to binge to your heart’s content.

I adored the gorgeous descriptive writing in this story, it was probably my favourite for writing style, I found myself wishing it was longer when I’d finished, which is always a good sign with a prequel!

Exiling a Fae Queen by Joanna Reeder

I’m the heir to the throne.
My birthright comes with a dark legacy.
But to save Faerie, I must betray my sister.

Aria is one half of a set of twins, two half-fae sisters who are both destined to rule the Raven Court as joint queens. Except she’s never spent a day learning the role or speaking with her subjects, unlike her sister Carys. Instead, she rides her water horse and hangs out with her best friend, Sterling.

When she finally decides to take an interest in the role she’s destined (or doomed) to take on when her father dies, she discovers that all is not as rosy as it seems on the surface in Faerie.

I was completely sucked into this story from the start. This was my favourite story for plot and characters, I loved Aria and the twists and turns just kept coming. There are 2 books and one other novella in this series so far, and I can’t wait to read them and find out what happened after THAT big twist!

Crown of Darkness by Alison Ingleby

I am darkness. But I dream of the light.

As the heir to the Unseelie throne, I have everything I could want. Apart from the one thing I long for—freedom.

Ciaran is deep-earth fae, prince of the Unseelie Court, and half human on his mother’s side. He battles with his conflicting humanity and resists the dark magic of his fae side, refusing to wear the crown his father had made for him that seems to sink it’s teeth further into him with every wear.

But trouble is brewing under the surface in the courts, and there’s a prophecy that could threaten both realms. Soon Ciaran may have to decide between the human side his mother would have wanted him to honour, and the fae side his father expects of the heir to the Unseelie throne.

This was the longest story in the collection, and I loved getting a more in depth look at the incredible world-building and the characters’s story arcs than in some of the shorter stories. It was great to see Ciaran’s growth and how his motivations changed over the course of events.

I’m really excited to read more in this series, which I really hope is coming soon! You can follow the author on Instagram @alisoningleby to be the first to know when this series will be released.

Marked by Fae by Valia Lind

They say nothing bad has ever come from reading a book. I guess it depends on the book…

This story was more paranormal/urban fantasy, with a half-witch, half-shifter MC attending a magical academy and learning to harness her growing powers. Avery finds a book that unlocks her abilities, dragging her into the middle of an ancient war and making her a target for all of Faery.

Marked by Fae is a prequel short story to The Fae Chronicles, which is set in the same world as Lind’s Hawthorne Chronicles and Thunderbird Academy series, but you can start with any of these series and enjoy them individually. There are 2 full length novels in the series so far, with more to come, so plenty to sink your teeth into if you love a vast world with all manner of fantasy and paranormal creature, not just fae.

The Wolf Gate by Hanna Sandvig

My…what big teeth you have!

Audrey is a pretty average teenage girl, living in Canada and having a boy trouble. Until she’s given a beautiful red cloak by her school’s librarian and takes a short cut through the woods to get home one night. Chased through a faerie portal by a mysterious wolf, she finds herself in the icy tundra of Faerie and on the run from the Unseelie Queen’s right-hand-wolf. Even worse than that, she’s accompanied by her ex-boyfriend whose secrets tore them apart – but can they find their way back together and escape their pursuers?

This story is a standalone retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, set in the same world as Sandvig’s Faerie Tale Romances series, all of which are sweet YA romantic fantasy retellings of well-known fairy tales. There’s currently one full length novel and two short stories (including this one, and one you can grab for free when you sign up for Sandvig’s newsletter!) in this series.

This one also gets extra points for inclusivity, as Audrey wears glasses and I’ve never read a fairy tale where the main character wore glasses (like me!), so I’m a big fan.


Hopefully you’ve added a few new series to your TBR and discovered a new-to-you author who’ll become an auto-buy. Let me know which of these stories sounds right up your alley! My favourites were Crown of Darkness, Exiling a Fae Queen and To Rule a Fae Throne. I can’t wait to jump into the rest of these series.

Lyndsey

x

Five fantasy anthologies to get lost in

I’m a big fan of fantasy books, and the only thing I love more than a fantasy story is several fantasy stories in one boxset! I’ve collated a few of my favourite boxsets and anthologies below, from short stories to full length novels, and clean YA tales to steamy-as-you-like fantasy romance.

Fantasy collections to fall in love with

Realms of Fae and Shadow

Enchanted forests. Deadly bargains. Welcome to the magic of Faerie.

Sadly, this short story collection is no longer available to buy, but you can find the authors on Instagram and head to their websites to get your hands on these stories.

My favourite so far is Heir of Bitter Thorn by Kay L. Moody, and I cannot wait to dive into her series, The Fae of Bitter Thorn. Because, did I mention, every one of these shorts leads into a full length fantasy series?? So good.


Once Upon a Broken Crown

Your favourite fairytales, reimagined.

If you like your fairytales with a pinch of spice, this is the anthology for you! Over twenty fantasy romance writers have joined together to recreate your favourite fairy tales with added steam and sass.

Find the authors on Instagram to find out more about the stories, and add it to your Goodreads shelf too.

Coming March 2022, you can preorder this collection on Amazon now for just 99c/77p!


Enchanted Kingdoms

Old tales: New twist.

This USA Today bestselling collection of twenty-two full length fairy tale retellings is FREE on Kindle Unlimited! Does it get better than that?

Many of the books included are the first in a series, so there’s plenty more where that came from. Discover your new favourite author between the pages of this boxset and you won’t be running out of reading material for a long time…

Add it to your Goodreads shelf or grab the ebook on Amazon.


Girls of Might and Magic

Find your might. Discover your magic. 

This anthology is a collection of diverse YA fantasy tales, showcasing diverse characters and stories from #ownvoices authors. With twenty short stories by some of my favourite authors, there’s bound to be something for every fantasy lover.

Alice Ivinya’s story features a girl with a stutter and chronic muscle weakness, set in an Asian-inspired fantasy world! (Alice Ivinya features in no less than three of the anthologies I’ve sharing today because I adore her incredible words.)

Coming 22 June, you can preorder the ebook on Amazon now.


Enchanted Waters

Find out what really lies beneath the waves…

I couldn’t share the anthologies I’m most excited about without mentioning Enchanted Waters! My story, Daughter of the Selkie King will be featured in this collection of ten water-magic fantasy stories this summer.

With tales featuring every fantasy water creature you can imagine (and some you almost definitely can’t), from mermaids and kelpies, to sirens and selkies, you’re bound to find at least one story to fall deep in love with. Discover your new favourite author in our captivating collection of short fantasy stories.

You can preorder Enchanted Waters on Amazon now, and read it from 16 July! And add it to your Goodreads To-be-read shelf here.


Join the Enchanted Waters street team!

Hopefully I’ve helped you to build your TBR with a couple of those anthologies, but if you’d like to get your hands on a free ARC of Enchanted Waters in exchange for an honest review, keep reading…

Still with me? Great!

Click here to fill out the Google form and sign up to be on our street team.

When you become a member, you’ll get access to our private Facebook group and your free gift of two stories by authors from the anthology!

Once we reach our goal of 100 street team members, you’ll be entered into a giveaway to win ten ebooks and short stories from the authors. And if we hit 250 members, another huge giveaway will be announced, so invite your friends and let’s get to our goal!

Sign up to the street team!

Lyndsey

x

Ways you can support your fave indie authors

If you’re here then you probably love reading, and I’m willing to bet you’re a fan of indie books. And wouldn’t you love it if your fave authors could write and publish more books for you to devour and adore?

Then you’re in luck, because I’m going to tell you some simple and easy ways that you can support independent authors, most of which won’t cost you a penny (although we do love it when you buy our books! And we enjoy paying for things with money that we’ve earned from our passion – it feels amazing!).

Ten ways to support an indie author

  1. Buy a book for yourself or a friend
    1. If you already own the ebook, why not buy the paperback or hardback as a gift for your bookish friend? Audio books are also becoming more popular with indies, and once you own the ebook the audio is usually only a few quid with Amazon!
  2. Write a review
    1. Reviews are the single most effective way of supporting your favourite authors – indie or otherwise. Amazon starts to promote books in their own newsletters once they have over 50 reviews, and that really helps authors to be discovered by new readers. Even a one line review and a star rating is enough to make a difference, so next time you finish a book just head over to your favourite place to find new book recs and leave a short review.
  3. Share on social media
    1. Post a photo of your copy on Bookstagram, share the author’s cover reveal post on Facebook, tweet the link to your review, make a YouTube or TikTok video of your top five indie books. Basically, wherever you spend time online, tell your friends and followers about your latest reads.
  4. Suggest a book to your book club
    1. Haven’t joined a book club yet? Why not start one and schedule the first three books to get you started, and then take suggestions from a different member each month. You could even have themes, like ‘indie book month’ and ‘debut author month’.
  5. Create fan art
    1. If you love to draw or paint, why not recreate some of the characters and scenes from your favourite books and share your creations online?
  6. Write fanfic
    1. Get on fanfiction.net or WattPad and write the happy ending (or steamy scenario) your fave characters deserve!
  7. Donate your copy to a charity or local free library
    1. Write on a post it note why you loved it and pop it in one of those free library boxes you find in some towns, or drop it into a charity bin so someone else can discover their new favourite author – and you can help to raise some much needed charity funds at the same time.
  8. Preorder new releases
    1. Preorders help authors to hit the bestsellers list on release day, which helps them to reach new readers and be promoted by Amazon. They also tell us what our readers want – 500 preorders on your new urban fantasy release? Make it a trilogy! Plot a spin-off series! Write novellas from the POV of side characters!
  9. Buy merch (and tell people what it’s from)
    1. If you love a mug or tote bag with a catchy slogan, check out your fave author’s website and see if they sell merchandise with quotes from their books. You could get all your Christmas shopping done in one place!
  10. Engage with them online
    1. Follow their social media accounts, like, comment and share their posts, join in with their giveaways and games, tell them you love their books! We love hearing from our readers and we really appreciate every message, every comment and share, and every post shouting about our books. Keep them coming!

So that’s ten pretty simple ways you can make your favourite authors happy and give them a reason to celebrate! And keep writing books you’ll love.

Tell me in the comments, who’s your favourite indie author? And what’s your favourite book by an indie author?

Lyndsey
x