Elantris by Brandon Sanderson – This gets a wholehearted five stars out of five! Reader thoughts: Wow just doesn’t cover it. After reading this book (and the Alcatraz series), I became a Brandon Sanderson fan. All of his books feature characters who are clever and always try their best to […]

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson


Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of […]

Memories of Ash – Intisar Khanani


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Masque by W.R. Gingell – I loved this. Seriously loved it. It’s classed as dark fantasy on Amazon, but don’t be turned off if you’re not into “dark”… most of the characters are absolutely charming and the world is far from grimdark. It’s “dark” because there is indeed bloody murder; […]

Masque – W.R. Gingell



The Bone Knife by Intisar Khanani Rae knows how to look out for family. Born with a deformed foot, she feigns indifference to the pity and insults that come her way, learning to be wary of all things beautiful. So Rae instantly distrusts their latest visitor: an appallingly attractive faerie […]

The Bone Knife – Intisar Khanani


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City of Masks by Mike Reeves-McMillan – Another enjoyable book by an author I trust to write good, likable characters. This book was thoroughly fun, and the epistolary style worked exceptionally well for the story. About as far from grimdark as you can get. I found it charming and appropriate […]

City of Masks – Mike Reeves-McMillan


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Calling by Angela Holder – This is a novella-length prequel to The Fuller’s Apprentice, and it introduces Elkan Farmerkin, the wizard and mentor in the novel above. It stands alone but is also an excellent addition to the series. It’s permafree. Elkan wants to become a farmer like his father, until a […]

Calling – Angela Holder



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Spindle by W.R. Gingell – I have discovered another favorite indie author. This was the first book I read by Gingell, and it’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. That was never my favorite fairytale, and I haven’t really jumped into the fairytale retelling trend anyway. But I decided to take a […]

Spindle – W.R. Gingell


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Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson – A lovely retelling of Cinderella. I particularly enjoyed the way the prince was portrayed, as well as how Trystan’s (Cinderella’s) character changed and grew through the story. The plot wasn’t overly complex, but it added depth and emotion to the bare bones of the tale we […]

Traitor’s Masque – Kenley Davidson


I first came across the term Noblebright a few months ago, and was intrigued by it. I imagined it would apply to works of High Fantasy, akin to Tolkien, (whose writing I love) without the gritty realism characteristic of Grimdark fantasy. Having read the definition of the term on C. […]

Grimdark or Noblebright?



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The Fuller’s Apprentice by Angela Holder – I picked this up on a free promotion, but it’s well worth purchasing. This is a clean fantasy series, and this first book is a unique coming-of-age young adult story. It’s clean but doesn’t completely shy away from some uglier, darker parts of life. But […]

The Fuller’s Apprentice – Angela Holder


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It is rare and splendid event when an author is elevated from the underground into the international literary establishment. In the case of England’s best-known and best-loved modern satirist, that event has been long overdue.   Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent Discworld novels satirize and celebrate every aspect of life, modern […]

Carpe Jugulum – Terry Pratchett


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Playing Hearts by W.R. Gingell – Did I mention I liked Gingell’s writing? I totally do. This one is free to her newsletter subscribers (and since I am a fan, I subscribed immediately) but also for sale if you don’t want to subscribe. It’s obviously loosely based on Alice in […]

Playing Hearts – W.R. Gingell



Raven by Pauline Creeden – I didn’t realize when I picked up this book that it was Christian fantasy (it’s clear on Amazon, I had just forgotten when it came up in my Kindle); I think it will appeal to non-Christians too. I also didn’t realize it was steampunk when […]

Raven – Pauline Creeden


Auckland Allies by Mike Reeves-McMillan – I’ve been a fan of Mike’s writing for a while, and we’re friends on social media (isn’t the internet great? Mike is a Kiwi and I live outside Washington, D.C.; without the internet, we would probably never have even known each other existed. But […]

Auckland Allies – Mike Reeves-McMillan


The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué The crown is her strength. The crown is her weakness. Princess Lily, the eldest of twelve sisters and heir to a mighty kingdom, desperately seeks a break from her mother’s matchmaking. Tradition forbids marriage with the man Lily loves, so she would rather rule […]

The Firethorn Crown – Lea Doué



Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the […]

Sunbolt – Intisar Khanani


The words grimdark and noblebright arose as technical terms in the gaming world. There’s a certain amount of dispute about the exact definitions there, with a tendency to paint them in black and white terms (such as the slur that noblebright is all about rainbows and unicorns and flawless heroes). […]

Grimdark vs. Noblebright


The Lord of Dreams by C. J. Brightley When a fairy king grants a human wish, there’s more at stake than dreams. Claire Delaney has a good life, despite her adolescent angst. But she wants more. In a moment of frustration, she wishes to be “the hero.” What she actually […]

The Lord of Dreams – C. J. Brightley



Fellow indie author Bethany Jennings recently discovered the term noblebright and wrote a lovely blog post about it here. Please click through and read the whole thing. Here’s a snippet to entice you: There are the stories where there is no hope, no meaning, and no lasting joy to human existence, […]

Noblebright News!


Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell ‘If you want adventure, you have to march right up to it and kick it in the shins . . .’ At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest. She thinks it will be all […]

Wolfskin – W.R. Gingell