Book Review: Tainted Waters by Lucretia Stanhope #darkfantasy #paranormal

Tainted Waters
takes place in a world where witches, light elves, and dark elves are in perpetual conflict. A cold war between the group simmers and it won't take much to spark a hot war. Despite the inherent animosity, strange allegiances form between witches and elves. But can anyone really trust anyone else? Trusting your natural enemy for benefit and survival is the theme at the heart of Stanhope's novel.

A coven of witches and a clan of dark elves share a forest, both want access to its resources. Their forays into the woods bring them in deadly contact and conflict with one another. Alice--half light elf and half witch--is a new member of the coven. As many of the characters point out, Alice shouldn't exist. A union between a light elf and witch shouldn't happen, but she does exist and her mixed blood gives her unique abilities which makes her dangerous to everyone. Alice is young and still in training, hardly aware of her strengths.

Someone in the coven sends her to a cave to search for nettles. The cave is the home of the dark elves that share the forest. Alice is captured and questioned. She would have been killed straight away and cut up for her bloody bits but the dark elves are intrigued by her lineage. They also have a problem. They believe a witch has poisoned their water supply and the leader of the clan decides to use Alice to remove the hex. Alice realizes she was sent to the cave to die. Someone in her coven wants to be rid of her and maybe start a war. Alice decides to help the dark elves with their water. She doesn't have a lot of choices. Complications abound as Alice discovers her worst enemies might be her best friends.

If you enjoy stories about magic and twisted allegiances where it's not clear anyone can be trusted, you'll love Tainted Waters.


Let's Share Our Favorite Fall/Harvest Legends


It's the time of the year for the harvest.
It's when Hades takes Persephone to the Underworld.
The days when the veil between realms is at its thinnest.

What are your favorite autumn/harvest legends?

Christine Rains

I do love all the spooky ghost tales and the origins of Hallowe'en, but the simple delights and the folklore that goes along with them is just as wonderful. Like the catching of falling leaves. Some believe if you catch a red falling leaf, you will have a happy new year. Others make it more challenging by saying for every leaf you catch, you will have a happy day, or that you will be free from colds for a month. A happy day and no colds? That is no simple magic to me!

Meradeth Snow

I'm not certain that I have any favorite legends (I'll admit, I've always been kind of a wuss and don't really go in much for ghost stories--probably because I grew up in a very old, very creaky farm house and valued being able to sleep!), but I do love fall. Pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors and I love some good pie. Also, I finally live in a place where the fall colors are spectacular, and that's always so lovely. Now, if only fall didn't mean winter was coming...now that would make me happier as a die-hard summer person :)

Catherine Stine
I admit, I don't really know any Halloween-ish myths. But I do LOVE the holiday. Having visited the Newgrange prehistoric burial grounds in Ireland last year, I do find it intriguing that Nick Rogers, a history professor at York University in the UK said, "According to the ancient sagas, Samhain was the time when tribal peoples paid tribute to their conquerors and when the sidh [ancient mounds] might reveal the magnificent palaces of the gods of the underworld." He also said that, "Samhain might be less about death or evil than about the changing of seasons and preparing for the dormancy (and rebirth) of nature as summer turned to winter." Below, are two photos I took at Newgrange. One is of the entrance with prehistoric inscriptions on it. The other is a side view showing the trench around the burial mound. It's incredible to imagine living back in those days.

Gwen Gardner

My favorite legend is Sleepy Hollow, where the headless horseman comes galloping through the woods on his horse *shivers*. I adore everything autumn/fall/and Halloweeny, from the burnt orange and rust hues of the changing leaves to the hot cocoa with whipped cream and of course, the candy, candy, candy! I’m a big kid when it comes to Halloween, from our annual pumpkin carving party (lots of kids, lots of pumpkins) with signature drinks (for the adults!), pizza, and candy of course. A Halloween music track is a must during the festivities (Monster Mash, I Put a Spell on You, This is Halloween, etc.). Then at the end of the evening, when it’s dark, we light the candles inside the pumpkins and ooh and ahh about how good everyone’s pumpkin looks. And of course there are the Halloween movies all month long. It never gets old!