Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Review: Beastly Manor by Alex Hall + Giveaway

Beastly Manor 
by Alex Hall
Page Count: 293 pages
Publisher: Madison Place Press
Publication Date: 1/20/2016
Genre: LGBT Fantasy
  Format: E-book
Amazon Buy Link: HERE
Goodreads Link: HERE
Em's Rating: ★★★★
Book Blurb:
Once upon a time in a faraway land a very wealthy merchant lived on a good piece of land just west of the hamlet we now call Littleton. The merchant was blessed with luck and guile, strong bones and sharp eyes, a pretty wife of gentle spirit, and four healthy children whom he called Faith, Hope, Beauty, and Corbin. 

 An LGBT twist on the classic love story. 

Em’s Review:
This is going to be one of those hard reviews where I want to squee and spoil everything, cause I love this story so! It’s has so much I love in a fairytale, and not those sugar down Disney ones. We are talking family in ruin! Knights! Training! Murder! Magic items! A creature and a little LGBT mixed in. In fact, if you are looking for a story where Disney’s Bell has been replaced by a guy, I can find you some fanfiction, cause this is more Corbin’s story, than the story of the Beast. And, like a classic fairytale, not everyone's story has an ending or a happy one.

I loved how this world felt like something I would have seen in BBC’s Merlin. The medieval and the magical fitting right in. I didn’t have people going through explaining to me what the dwarves are like here, we just jump right into it, and it never breaks from the story.

Corbin is also discovering his own sexulaity in his quest. It’s is very well added in here. He is not the gay person doing this to release his family from a deal, he is a man learning who just happens to like men and not women. This world doesn’t even make being gay an issue. Corbin was getting more hell from the color of his hair than the fact he didn’t bed women. It is refreshing to read a story where I persons sexuallity was not plastered on every page.

I will warn you, the first act of this story is a little slow, but is also short. It is where we meet Corbin at a young age and get to meet the family right before the deal with the devil as people will say. Then it picks up and all I am doing is reading it and the dinner is overcooking in the oven. Extra crispy chicken aside, please go and get the ebook. The price is worth the read, and Alex Hall is a great wordsmith and I would love to see more work from them.

Here is an excerpt to so you what I mean!

Once upon a time in faraway land a very wealthy merchant lived on a good piece of property just west of the hamlet we now call Littleton. The merchant was blessed with luck and guile, strong bones and sharp eyes, a pretty wife who had both wit and a gentle spirit, and four healthy children. He was called Jean de Beaumont, after his father and his grandfather both. His wife liked to call him ‘Roux’ for the color of his hair. To his three daughters the merchant was always ‘Papa’, but his eldest child and only son always called him simply ‘Da’.

Like many of the tenant farmers subsisting on squares of land just outside Littleton proper, de Beaumont dedicated his time and talents to the making of good cheeses. The native soil was made rich with salt from the nearby sea, and that fragrant earth produced a grass greener than the king’s most rare verdigris dyes. Black and white cattle grew fat in the fields. Their milk was thick and sweet, suitable for drinking straight from the pail, or churning into butter. More importantly, this milk was the very key to the family’s survival, for de Beaumont poured it into great bowls and set it aside to curdle before molding. The milk turned into cheese, the cheese now called Camembert.

Camembert was not so rare around Littleton. But de Beaumont, being a clever man with a head for experimentation, began to add an extra ingredient to the cheese: a special brandy his wife made from the apples collected from the trees growing wild amongst the hedges. Only she knew how to correctly prepare the brandy, and only de Beaumont knew when to add the sweet-smelling liquor between curdling and molding, and then again before he sealed the cheeses in wooden boxes and set them aside again to age. The recipe was a family secret kept only in de Beaumonts’s head. As word of the unusual and delicious Camembert spread so did demand, but de Beaumont was canny and never increased production. He raised the price for a wheel. His fortune was made in a matter of years, while Corbin was still a babe not yet out of his cot.

They say there are still wheels of de Beaumont Camembert laid aside in the king’s cellars, held back for a special occasion. If this is true the king is a very lucky man, as by all accounts de Beaumont’s special cheese exists nowhere else. It is possible the merchant meant to teach Corbin the recipe once the child came of age, so that as heir he could pass the secret on through the generations, ensuring the family’s continued fortune. But God plays tricks on a man, gives with the right hand and takes with the left, and like de Beaumont’s pretty little farm and charming family, that magical strain of Camembert is nothing more than a distant memory, a lingering taste on the tongue of good fortune, a fleeting recollection of pleasure.

Want more? Part of another excerpt was used in today's Get Up Offa That Slump Challenge

Author Bio: 
Alex Hall writes LGBT speculative fiction for Madison Place Press. Find out more about Alex, Beastly Manor, and Alex's forthcoming dystopian M/M romance, The Stranded, at

I would like to thank Enchanted Book Promotions for letting me host another stop on their tour, and for this giveaway. Make sure you stop by other spots on the tour.



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