Trick and Treat with some Halloween Indie Books

This week I was really in the mood to read something for Halloween. However, I’m trying to read less library books and more books I own. So I decided to dive into some of the Indie ebooks I have on my phone. Usually, I got through Amazon every few months to look for new, indie books. So in the last two days, I read three of these and decided it would be fun to share with you my thoughts on some indie authors, because it’s been a while since I read any.

Cutthroat Cupcakes (Cursed Candy Mysteries Book 1)

The first book I read was a recent release, coming out in July of 2020. It follows Lina, a woman who owns a Halloween bakery. One day a man walks into her shop and arrests her for magically poisoning her cupcakes, which ended up murdering a wealthy man. In exchange for her helping them find the murderer, the spelling of her cupcakes (she spells them unconsciously because she didn’t know magic was real) will be kind of forgiven.

There were some things I really enjoyed in this book, but a lot few flat. Lina is a pretty passive protagonist, going along with what Bastian forces her to do most of the time. The world is interesting, and I loved the idea that wizard’s magic comes from logic and witch’s magic from emotion. It plays on ideas of logos and pathos, balancing each other out. It wasn’t the most developed world, but for how short the book is I was pleased with how worldbuilding was weaved into the narrative. The murder mystery itself was pretty mediocre, but then very little time was actually spent on it. There were so many scenes of characters just talking about coffee or sweets (or Lina noticing hot Bastian is, which is a cliché I’m kind of over). Don’t get me wrong, I love both those things, but in a book this short it made the writing feel the opposite of concise. So, I enjoyed it, but not enough that I can see myself picking up the next book. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Witches and Poppets: Steampunk Vasilisa the Fair: A Steampunk Fairy Tale Short Story

This one was released this month in Oct, 2020. It is a retelling of one of my favorite Russian fairytales, and I love Baba Yaga in general.

This is a short 12-page retelling of Visilisa the Fair. I really enjoy Russian fairytales, especially including Baba Yaga, so I found this short story fun and quick. I like the steampunk twist, where Baba Yaga (called Mother Yaga in this story) has a house made of metal. Depending on the fairytale, Yaga can be evil or good, and this one puts her more in the good category whereas Visilisa’s stepmother is the villain. My only criticism is that I never felt like I learned much about Visilisa herself, which is typical for fairytales but I would have liked a bit more in this retelling. I gave this story 4 out of 5 stars.

The Harvest (The Bell Witch #1)

This was my favorite book I did for this challenge. It was released in June of 2019, and tells of four families cursed to complete a “quest” every year where one person from each family is picked by the Bell Witch.

This book plays on the real myth of the Bell Witch in Tennessee. I’m a sucker for retellings, so this book intrigued me. I went into it with low expectations and I must say, I was pretty impressed. There were a few wording errors and overdramatic descriptions, but I truly fell in love with the four main characters. Mina wants to be logical, always trying to disprove the supernatural even to the point that her curiosity almost kills her. Cadwyn is a strong, silent character, with a soft heart and a rough exterior. Basheba is snarky and uncaring on the surface, but she loves her dog and values human life, even if humanity has mostly given up on her. Ozzie is optimistic, youthful, and determined.

All of them really stood out to me as good characters. Saying that, the first four chapters show each of their perspectives, and it was difficult to get into the story when the perspective kept shifting just when I became interested in the story. However, later on this wasn’t a problem. Katrina Hamilton, the Bell Witch herself, is a pretty vague antagonist. She wants to punish these four families, but she also seems more to prefer torture over murder. There’s this massive minotaur that comes into the story and I was thrown off wondering why does he exist in this world with ghosts? I just found the villain to be a bit confusing at times. But this is also the first book in a series, and I imagine we’ll learn more in later books.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it’s perfect to read around Halloween. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I was definitely hoping to finish more for this post, but I ended up DNFing two others and finally giving up. At least I ended my reading on a high note.

What are your favorite book for Halloween? Do any of these book interesting to you? Also, I bought them all for free on Amazon, so if you’re curious to read them yourself they are probably still free. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

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