Book Review, Fantasy, Reading

Book Review: Hidden Realm

Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning, Book One)

T.R. Slauf — October 6, 2020

(Goodreads) (Amazon)


“The next Realm Walker will bring with them a storm. Lightning must fight the Crimson shadow, or the lands will be cast into eternal darkness.”

When she was a child Esther was plagued with vivid nightmares, now they have returned to haunt her. Blood thirsty monsters chase her through a forest of dead trees while a mysterious hooded figure stalks her. After awaking with fresh wounds from her dreams Esther searches for the truth about who she is and the Hidden Realm she is destined to save.

Join Esther on her journey of self-discovery as she travels into a world long forgotten. Unsure if she can trust her hooded guide, she is hunted by unknown enemies and smothered by expectations of grandeur. Deciphering friend from foe as she travels the lands trying to unite kingdoms torn by pride.

My Impression:

Fam, this story was unbelievable. I won a contest and was able to read the book before it’s launch and I am so happy that I got to. The characters are realistic and nuanced. I love Esther and Oisin’s friendship, as many of the other characters grew on me as well.

Something I especially loved was the inclusion of the original Grimm’s tales in worldbuilding. I never would have thought to do something like that, and Slauf does it so well! I’ll be honest in that I’ve never actually read the original tales.. but my interest has been piqued by this and I may soon add them to my never-ending TBR!

Today is launch day.

Seriously, go check out Hidden Realms and T.R. Slauf’s website. This book is for you if you enjoy dark fantasy, twisted fairytale retellings, and gritty, realistic, tales. The book definitely has more than a few adult situations and is not for the faint of heart! Over all, I loved it and cannot wait for the next installment.

Book Review

Book Review: 13 Steps to Evil

13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains

Sasha Black – May 9, 2017

(Goodreads) (Amazon)


Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is. 
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain? 

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:
How to develop a villain’s mindset
A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.
These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

My impression:

Honestly, I’d give this book 3 stars. The formatting is terrible and the narrative voice is super distracting. It’s like she’s trying so hard to be edgy and off-the-wall that she throws extra metaphors in every third sentence. Most of these just made me roll my eyes, but I was determined to finish it because, well, I paid for it.

There’s some good information in the book, though. If you’re new to creating characters, or aren’t sure what things like protagonists and anti-heroes are, this is very useful. The problem is, most of the things that the author talks about for creation of villains goes toward character creation in general. Another point I’d like to make is that the majority of the book, the way the author talks is like every hero and villain story is like a comic book – it’s black and white, cheesy dialogue, guy gets the girl, etc. And I really could not relate to that. The books I read and write.. just aren’t like that.


There were two really useful chapters. One was on Villains and Mental Health (which honestly should be talked about a lot more) and the other was on Introducing your Villain. Those two chapters and the Appendix (lists of positive, negative, and neutral traits and values) made it worth the purchase.

I just probably wouldn’t read the rest of it ever again.

Have you ever read any books to help with a craft? How did that go?

Comment below and share your experiences!