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Madame Howell’s Book of Very Bad Things – 4 Star Book Review

Welcome to one of the February 8th stops on the blog tour for Madame Howell’s Book of Very Bad Things by Jae El Foster, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for 6 other reviews, a promo stop, and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

About the Book

Madame Howell’s Book of Very Bad Things
A Baker’s Dozen of Frightful Fairy Tales
by Jae El Foster

Published 27 November 2020
by DCL Publications, LLC

Genre: Short Fiction, Fairy Tales, Horror, Fantasy
Page Count: 252
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Journey into a land of fairy tales like none you’ve ever experienced before with this baker’s dozen of original and often horrific fanciful treats! Madame Howell, the world’s greatest witch, will lead you through some of the most unique journeys into the Enchanted Forest, through great castles and villages, and even into uncanny realms of newly imagined dangers in her ‘Book of Very Bad Things.’ Featuring many elements from classical fairy tales while paying homage to the imaginations of the Brothers Grimm, this deliciously sinister volume delivers its own unique versions of true love and the all important ‘happily ever after.’ Within, you’ll discover dark changelings, wicked queens, houses of snakes, disobedient children, the world’s tiniest people, vicious goblins and dwarfs, a baker with a taste for blood, and so much more. Settle back and fall under the wicked spell of this dastardly and mesmerizing journey into the darkest realms of fairy tales and folklore.

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Excerpt

Today, for the first time, he decided to bypass that lovely and relaxing stone. He wasn’t by any means tired or ready to relax or nap. He felt energized and chipper, and he was surrounded by his woodland friends… his only friends, but friends who welcomed him into their domain with seemingly open arms.

“Oiko, doiko, ba dunk dunk dunk,” he sang cheerfully to himself as he strolled down the path – a path that grew narrower the further he walked. “Watch out for the stinky skunk!” It was a silly song he sang – one he’d made up long ago on a walk such as this, where he’d encountered a skunk that fortunately hadn’t stunk.

As the path grew narrower and the forest thicker, everything became darker – shrouded in shadows. Several of the flowers and plants nearby glowed when shadowed, and they helped to make the scenery more mystical and brighter. Never before had he seen such glowing plants as these. They were remarkable and glowed softly in a vast array of color. He knelt down to one such flower and sniffed it, wondering if it smelled as marvelous as it looked. It was, indeed, the sweetest scent he’d inhaled in perhaps forever.

He stood and sighed. It felt like he’d found a sort of nirvana – a land of beauty and wonder. It was so magical that he yearned to bring a part of its splendor home with him. Crouching down once more, he leaned to the flower he’d sniffed and started to pluck it.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were ye,” he heard a voice say. It startled him, and Jacob unhanded the flower and stood upright.

Turning around, he looked for the voice’s source but saw no one. Deciding it had been nothing more than his imagination playing some tomfoolery on him, he shrugged it off and turned back to the flower.

“Ye should never pick anything from here,” the voice spoke again, and once more, Jacob turned around to see its speaker.

Again, there was nobody.

“Perhaps I am going mad,” he contemplated aloud and then chuckled. “Ah well… being so lonely can do that to a man, I imagine.”

“Mad!” another voice noted, mimicking what Jacob had said. Whilst the first voice had sounded male, this one sounded like the voice of an old woman. “Ye will know mad if ye pick one flower from this path!”

“Who said that?” Jacob asked, looking all around. Still, he saw no one. For a moment, he considered he was hearing the voices of ghosts, but if a ghost was going to speak, surely it would have shown itself. “Where are ye?” Everything was quiet again as he sought for the mysterious voices. He looked all around and even down low, but he could find nobody. When he was about to give up in his search and leave this place behind, he heard giggling from above.

My Review

My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.

I was granted complimentary access to a review copy of Madame Howell’s Book of Very Bad Things through Goddess Fish Promotions, and I am writing this review as part of my participation in the blog tour for this title. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

Madame Howell’s Book of Very Bad Things is a collection of short fairy tales individually introduced by the character of Madame Howell. Each story is written in the vein of original Grimm and Anderson with dark themes and horrifying implications that eventually pass on a lesson in morality.

As an adult who loves older-category works with fairy tale theming, I adore this and had a great time! These stories are well written, unique, and very compelling.

As a parent to a young child, I’m also horrified and will be keeping this one far away from my daughter until at least grade 6. (She’s 3.) Do not read this to young kids! There’s body horror and a lot of murder. Double-digit ages are required!

About the Author

When the muses speak, Jae El Foster writes, and he has been doing so for nearly twenty years, tackling some of the most intriguing genres out there. Delivering fresh, incomparable tales of horror, science fiction, and romance – sweet or spicy – he pens with seasoned skill the tales that his muses deliver to him. His bestselling works include the paranormal romance ‘Restless,’ the gothic horror tale ‘Where the Demon Is,’ and the gay holiday romance ‘Only at Christmas.’

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Giveaway Alert!

Jae El Foster will be awarding an autographed print edition of ‘Madame Howell’s Book of Very Bad Things to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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