The Winter Riddle

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Pub Date 01 Nov 2018 | Archive Date 07 Nov 2018

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A Fantastical Farce of Yuletide Proportions


Once upon a time, the North Pole was a very noisy place. A kingdom cowered under the maniacal rule of the White Queen, the Vikings raided and pillaged as they were wont to do, and the Winter Witch avoided talking to any of them.

When her peace and quiet are obliterated by threats of war and Ragnarok, she’ll try anything to get them back. When casting spells to become nearly invisible and dealing with otherworldly powers fail, the Winter Witch must forge an alliance with Santa—a retired warrior who’s anything but jolly—to save the North Pole from calamity.

            In this updated version of Sam Hooker’s humorous dark fantasy novel that’s a perfect holiday read, The Winter Riddle [Black Spot Books, November 1 2018], destiny calls on an unlikely hero to save the North Pole. The Winter Witch would have been more than happy to be left alone entirely, and that’s exactly the sort of person who sticks out like a sore thumb when destiny goes shopping for heroes. Destiny has a nose for a bargain. Why pay full retail for a willing hero who’s all biceps and tally-ho?

            Of course, she could have avoided the whole thing by refusing to involve herself in a scheme devised by the most deceitful deity ever to disgrace the world with his presence, but that would have angered the horrible White Queen, ensuring that she’d never have another moment’s peace again. The aforementioned scheme felt like the lesser evil at the time, but nothing could have been farther from the truth.

            The Winter Witch’s desire to be left alone sends the North Pole careening toward disaster. Flying machines falling from the sky! Cannons going off indoors! Espionage, intrigue, gender-bending fashion, and even a hint of global warming imperil the fate of the world as we know it, and it all falls to one reclusive mumbler to make things right.

Will the Vikings take up arms against the frost giants? Will an evil necromancer keep the kingdom in the grip of fear? And for the love of Christmas, will everyone who isn’t the Winter Witch please stop meddling with dark forces beyond mortal comprehension for a bit? 

The Winter Riddle is a farcical tale of a yuletide fantasy, wherein a reticent heroine must surmount countless challenges to save the world. From battles with giants to unlocking ancient magics to navigating the nuances of polite conversation, each obstacle is more monstrous than the last. Deck the halls and bar the doors! We’re in for a long winter’s night. 

"I was perfectly happy to let my first novel molder in self-published anonymity, but my publisher saw something special in it,” says Hooker. “I am thrilled to be working with Black Spot Books again to re-release a new, improved version of The Winter Riddle just in time for readers to cozy up with it this holiday season."

 “Literature is teeming with heroic extroverts who’d love nothing more than to save the world, but where’s the fun in calling on them? Fight scene, barely escape death, training montage, romantic aside, denouement. It’s all very boring,” says Hooker. “In The Winter Riddle, we tap the surly introvert instead. Suddenly you’ve got creative swearing! Irrational arguments! Something that will make you chuckle despite the weight of daily life. Tap into the introvert within everyone, and you’ve got something worth reading.”

A Fantastical Farce of Yuletide Proportions


Once upon a time, the North Pole was a...

A Note From the Publisher

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy novels about things like tyrannical despots and the masked scoundrels who tickle them without mercy. He knows all the best swear words, though he refuses to repeat them because he doesn't want to attract goblins. Sam's previous work includes Peril in the Old Country (Black Spot Books, 2018). Learn more about Sam at, and follow him (@SamHooker) on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy novels about things like tyrannical despots and the masked scoundrels who tickle them without mercy. He knows all the best swear words...

Advance Praise

Praise for Sam Hooker's 'Peril in the Old Country' (June 5 2018, Black Spot Books)

"Hooker demonstrates a delightfully firm grasp on absurdist fantasy... a gleeful caper rife with literary influences." -- Publishers Weekly

"Five stars... the best kind of bad fun." -- Foreword Reviews, Book of the Day

"A kaleidoscope of absurdist humor, stunning imagery, and a fantastical plot. Hooker is an expert when it comes to dark humor, and it clearly shows." -- Booktrib

"Darker than the Douglas Adams universe, but lighter than Game of Thrones, Peril in the Old Country hooks you in with its intriguing world-building, compelling characters, fantastical elements, interesting twists on the supernatural, and perfectly absurd dark humor." -- Geeks of Doom

Praise for Sam Hooker's 'Peril in the Old Country' (June 5 2018, Black Spot Books)

"Hooker demonstrates a delightfully firm grasp on absurdist fantasy... a gleeful caper rife with literary...

Marketing Plan

* National consumer print, online, and broadcast media campaign *

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* Author interviews and excerpts available upon request *

* Influencer outreach to Amazon top reviewers & Goodreads librarians, Bookstagrammers, BookTubers, podcasters, and more *

* National consumer print, online, and broadcast media campaign *

* Publishing trade ARC/galley outreach *

* Author interviews and excerpts available upon request *

* Influencer outreach to Amazon top...

Average rating from 49 members

Featured Reviews

ARC Copy...a yuletide humorous, absurd winter fantasy with a reluctant winter witch, a Santa who is not exactly the jolly old fellow and swearing in wolf.

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The Winter Riddle is a funny, entertaining tale that blends Santa with witches, Vikings, and Norse gods. The book kept me amused from start to finish, and often had me laughing out loud. The characters are well written and nicely fleshed out, and the plot is great fun and perfectly paced. All in all, this is a great book to read snuggled up by the fire on a cold winter's night. I appreciated the quirky humour in this piece and would definitely read more by the author in the future.

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Hahahahhahaa!!! If wit and christmas had a lovechild, and it came out mangled, this book would be it - A hot mess (or, perhaps, cold mess is more appropriate) of it all and honestly, exasperated me with laughter the whole time!

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I received this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review. I enjoyed this book immensely. It is the story of 'how Santa came to be' , wrapped in the much larger and adventurous tale of Volgha, the Winter Witch. The author does a great job of creating the North Pole area, a kingdom called Aurora, and introducing you to wonderful characters. He mixes in Norse mythology, elves, and necromancers and crazy courtiers. Volgha just wants to be left alone to practice the Witching Way, in her own little hovel (er, cottage) in the forest. But her maniac sister, the Queen, is abetted by Loki to make Volgha's life a nonstop set of interruptions and silliness. Volgha agrees to help Loki trick the world's best trickster (that would be Loki himself). A series of unfortunate events occur, forcing Volgha to interact with others - she meets Santa, Krespo the elf, Matilda the official Tickler, and many others. This is a fun book. The author creates people who are self-deprecating and engaging (well, mostly - the courtiers remain vapid throughout the book!). I recommend it if you enjoy Piers Anthony, for example.

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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found my self laughing out loud numerous time throughout the book. I do feel as though I should have read it during winter though (obviously) but other than that, the writing was well done and I absolutely ADORE the cover!!! The characters were a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about a Santa that goes against what we recognize him as today.

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I discovered Sam Hooker’s writing a few months ago with his Black Spot Press debut: <i>Peril in the Old Country</i>. I enjoyed that book so much that I jumped at the chance to read this one.

Stir together a mirthfully unhinged monarch who is best friends with Loki, her sister who is the Winter Witch, Santa Claus (seen wielding a war hammer on the cover…so you can expect someone a little different from the “right jolly old elf”), battle-loving Vikings, and various other mythical/magical beings and you just know this is going to be good! Our protagonist is the Winter Witch who just wants to be left in peace to do witchy things – but what fun would that be for our story? When she helps Loki play a prank on himself, things quickly spiral out of control…and that’s about all I can say without spoilers. Along the way there are plenty of laugh out loud moments and some genuine character growth that didn’t feel preachy or moralizing.

Apparently this is a reworked version of the author’s previously self-published first novel, and I think it shows a little bit. The pacing and plotting weren’t as even and tight as in <i>Peril in the Old Country</i>, but it was still a rolicking good tale. And it didn’t end on a major cliffhanger, so that’s a plus for me! Pacing issues aside, this is definitely worth reading if you enjoy humorous fantasy, and I am looking forward to whatever Sam Hooker writes next.

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When I began the novel, I felt it might be too rambling but as the story progressed I ended up really enjoying it!

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This was a hilariously farcical adventure story, the wit and humor of this fantasy story overflow in a way that makes me think a lot of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Volgha the winter witch just wants to practice her witchery in peace, away from the kingdom of Aurora (in the north pole of course) where her extravagantly crazy sister rules as queen, add in a drunkenly ridiculous Loki, Vikings, Norse Gods, Druids in trees and an Ex-warrior named Santa Klaus well things get a little stressful for her and it's highly entertaining. The world and characters in this book were so well brought to life and had amazing personality, they were constantly full of snarky dialogue and smartly written satirical humor about these types of fantasy adventures, poking fun at difficulties and traditions. This is not an epic adventure, it's an epic mess that a couple of barely sane characters are trying to hold together. All the different story aspects blend together well and this take on Santa is also fun. I definitely recommend this to fans of humorous fantasy stories.

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A very nice book incorporating a lot of the tales of the north and winter into it. Not as satirical as I was expecting but the book played out nicely and kept my interest.

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When you have to become a Queen just so that people can leave you alone, so you can get back to the Witching Way, be sure to employ Santa, The Vikings, maybe, Odin, throw in some Ice Giants just to be sure... The Winter Riddle has something for everyone. This was another great effort from Sam Hooker. Thank you Netgally for giving me a chance to read this ARC.

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A humorous, paradoxical Christmas novel that will surely make you laugh.
I loved the characters, the setting and the plot was sound and entertaining.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC

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What do you get when you put a witch - that is a lot like Wicked’s Elphaba; the cunning trickster god of Asgard, Loki; and Santa Clause together? The correct answer is Sam Hooker’s The Winter Riddle.

I found The Winter Riddle to be a very interesting read. I loved all of the components (Wicked, Marvel’s Loki and Santa Clause), and putting them together to make and solve a riddle which ensues a war with the Frost Giants was a a fun different kind of read. However, I was really disappointed in the fact that the book was not a a Christmas book like I believed it was going to be!

I don’t read many Christmas books, but I do like to read one or two for the season. I had thought that The Winter Riddle was going to be my first one to get me into the season. However I was wrong. So if you’re looking for an actual Christmas book, this is not what you’re looking for.

All of that being said, if you like Wicked’s Elphaba or Marvel’s Loki and gods of Asgard, then this will be a fun read for you! One in which you’ll be trying to figure out: what is Loki’s riddle?

From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.

Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚🔖

(A bookmark:🔖, is a half a stack of books. i.e: 📚📚🔖 = a score of 2.5)

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I need to begin with something I am sure multiple blurbs will mention at some point. If you are a fan of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and/or Neil Gaiman there is something  in this book that will resonate with you. There is a randomness to the story which eventually gets to a point which will make you smile. 

The story begins in a land far, far away with the winter witch Volgha. All she wants is to be left alone to do her own things. This is hampered by the fact that she was originally born in the local royal family. The rest of the introduction is part of the fun included in the start of the tale. Then we have Santa who happens to be in the same locality but he is not exactly of the folklore that we have now. There are also Norse Gods thrown (very casually) into the mix.I recently read up on the Norse Gods so that worked in my favour but I wouldn;t deem it critical to know too much about them beforehand.
This is a chaotic tale, with the conversations and the sarcasm and all the 'asides' that people tack on to the conversation being the main features. All of that being said, I would have liked the book even more if it had been split into two only because it would have made reading it easier. There are some things I found funnier than others but overall I think this is an author who has the tone right. I would definitely recommend the book and try any others I can get my hands on.

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The North Pole hasn't always been an empty place. Once upon a time, a Kingdom lay there. And there were all kinds of different creatures there: from strange Queens and Viking Gods, to Santa and elves. And, among them all is our protagonist, the Winter Witch. When her world is threatened by Ragnarok, our Winter Witch will ally with Santa himself, and the result can only be both epic and hilarious. Can the North Pole be saved?

The Winter Riddle is n adventure that mixes a lot of different elements from various cultures and fairy tales. Although Sam Hooker's humor is excellent, the story was dragged a lot, and very often felt like the author diverted from the plot. It took a very long time to get to the actual plot (around 20% of the book), and the beginning was extremely uneventful. The story picked up a faster pace eventually, but it felt quite forced at times.

All in all it was amusing, quick-to-read and quite humorous, but not nearly as good as other work from this author.

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If you are a moody young woman who likes to wear black, you might well be a witch. Or aspire to be a witch. If you needed a tongue-in-cheek guide on how to behave, you could benefit from picking up The Winter Riddle, by Sam Hooker. Quaint, and yet somehow very modern, this is the tale of Volgha the Winter Witch. Volgha, like Greta Garbo just “vants to be alone,” in her moldering, but cozy hut in the far North of the world. Unfortunately, not only is she royal by blood, her depraved, needy sister is the Queen. The Queen enjoys teasing and tormenting her introverted sister, almost as much as chopping peoples’ heads off or getting stimulated with the Royal Tickler. (A person in the employ of the palace who is always masked.) To add to Volgha’s woes, her mind is soon shared by her familiar, a red crow, and her old mentor, which leads to some lively discussions inside her head. And that handsome Santa, with a secret past as a warrior? Volgha tries to push him away, but he doesn’t allow her rebuffs to discomfort him.
There is a plot to all this farce as well. Volgha, who has spent years trying to get away from everything and everyone, is chosen by fate to become the Warden of the North Pole and mediate between nature spirits and the doings of man. With a motley crew of assistants, including the vain and talkative red crow, a terrified elf, and a practical scullery maid, she must set things to right.

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This was such a fun story to read! Great for Halloween/postHalloween and preChristmas times! Very witty and wonderful!

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Highly satirical and quite often witty, wonky, and silly, The Winter Riddle is perfect for anyone looking for a good read.

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Wonderfully funny and mysterious read! Sam Hooker is an author that manages to balance magic, mystery, riddles and sarcasm! I laught so hard while reading this book that I stopped drinking my tea! If you wan t a funny story that has its basis in old myths and nordic religions, this book is definitely for you! And besides, the cover alone is certainly a selling point!

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Part Game of Thrones, part The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and part Viking mythology, Winter Riddle is a thinking person’s fantasy. And it’s hilarious!

At the North Pole, Volgha the Winter Witch is just trying to live an introverted life. However, her younger sister took over the kingdom, her mentor is now a tree and Santa is the worst neighbor ever. Enter the wacky fantasy world of Winter Riddle.

Incorporating Viking myth, witchy lore, familiars and Santa in one plot doesn’t even sound possible. However, the author achieves it with this funny tale. The less you know of the plot of Winter Riddle, the more fun you will have reading this wonderful book. It is perfect for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans as the humor is similarly absurd. 5 stars!

Thanks to Black Spot Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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this book was an entertaining and funny tale that has within it all the magical elements i love. witches, Vikings, Norse gods and santa claus. The characters are well written and the plot is fun ! it was really enjoyed the read and liked the story

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Note: ebook provided by the publisher for review through Netgalley. Thank you Black Spot Books!

On with the review...

Sometimes a book comes along that I desperately want to love, but I just find myself putting it down and struggling to pick it up again. The Winter Riddle is one of those books. It's not that the book isn't an amusing farce. It really is amusing and a farce as suggested, but the madcap zaniness is so scattered at times, that I still don't really know what the plot was. There was a witch and a druid who turned into a tree and Santa and an inept ruler plus Loki, frost giants, and someone called the tickler. So much that I should love and want to know more about because I love me some goofy writing and fun characters. But the plot... it meanders too much for me to even attempt to explain. There's still fun to be had in Hooker's dialogue. Just didn't hook me as much as I hoped it would.

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The Winter Riddle  (pub. Black Spot Books, 1st Nov. 2018) is a satiro-mythical morality tale whose author clearly demonstrates his membership in that emerging generic brotherhood which, much as the successors of playwright Ben Jonson gained the epithet "The Tribe of Ben", could well be referred to as "The Tribe of Terry."

Yes, this story definitely has Terry Pratchett as its godfather, with Tom Holt standing in the wings in case someone drops the baby.

The characters include witches who demand respect, barmy rulers, elves and goblins, Gods and barbarian warriors, and Santa himself (though not in hoggish guise here). Remind you of somewhere flat and full of magic?

But this story is set on our Earth - albeit around a mythical version of the North Pole - and, while there are the kind of moral disquisitions we're accustomed to see in the works of the tribal leader, the principal problem is a very modern one: global warming.

But who is responsible? Is it some kind of plot by the Frost Giants to thaw their way out of Niflheim? Is it a rebellion by the land itself against the crazed rule of Queen Alexia? Or is it a deadly side-effect of a bet mischievous Loki has made against himself? 

Vogha, the Winter Witch and sister to the Queen, is facing all sorts of pressure: Alexia wants her to serve at court, the spirit of her old master Osgrey is nagging her to take on the job of Warden to the Land, Ghasterly the Castle Necromancer keeps trouncing her at magic, and Santa's rickety prototype flying machine has dropped a wing right on her herb garden. In addition she has a duty of care towards a rather elegant snow lion called Sigmund and an ambitious Red Raven who is addicted to anchovies. Vogha, meanwhile, in Garboesque fashion, just "wants to be alone!"

As you can no doubt infer from all of the above, there is a healthy streak of humour running through this tale, and, as with Pratchett's oeuvre, it's not entirely facetious.  The moral dilemmas of "Who should rule?" and "How should one treat 'the other'?" are neatly tied in with an entertaining plot and characterisation. Plus, we get a peek at the early career of that famed warrior, Santa. What more could you ask?

My only reservation is that the introduction of a fairly large cast of characters slowed the plot a little at the start, but, once the protagonists were firmly bedded into the story, I just sat back and enjoyed the (sleigh) ride!

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To start with the first few chapters didn't get to me, but then when the story started to unfold, I couldn't stop reading it. There was to much information and character at the start so I guess that's reason it didn't make me want to read it. But I wanted to know the story as there was to much to know about it. And I kind of want to be a witch now. The story was good and it was interesting. It had Santa, Asgard gods and magic. And you would never think how can there be these elements in one story. But author made this story more interesting. So I liked the story.

Now the character, our main character is Volgha who is a witch and wants be left alone. The only thing she wants to do is practice the witching way. But then she does things she wasn't supposed to and one thing leads to other. But I loved her character, because she decided to take care of mistake she made, that character development is what I like.

I can't say much of other characters as they come later on in the story and it might spoil the story, so you should go and pick up this book and read it!!!

*I got the e-galley from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

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This started off kind of silly, and I wasn't sure I would like it, but in the end I enjoyed the story. Who would imagine the author would be able to pull off a story with drunken monarchs, witches, Vikings, and Santa?

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A hilariously written winter tale, combining aspects of so many different things like viking mythology, witchery, Santa, and more. Best for fans who like a little absurd, at times over the top, sometimes rediculous humor similar to the Life of Brian, Discworld, or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It doesn't completely go to the nonsense spots, these two hit, but it is lingering on the same kind of quirky humor - at least from my perspective.

It was overall a really fun wintery book and I truly enjoyed most of it. I was only quite annoyed by Loki and how he behaved. This was just over the top into the wrong direction for me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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by Sam Hooker

Beautifully and delightfully snarky. I frequently had to stop and reread a line to be certain I absorbed all the humour! (smile) Mr. Hooker definitely has a flair for writing, especially of writing his special combination of dark-humourous-eccentric-poignant-grim epic fantasy. Yes, that's a whole new subgenre I just coined, to fit this novel. Although it's mostly set in the Kingdom of Aurora at the wonderful North Pole, the themes and characters are often applicable elsewhere, both contemporaneously and in history. Quite enjoyable and a read in which to delight!

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Sooo good! A bit Terry Pratchett, a little Nail Gaiman....Reminiscent of Tiffany from “Wee Free Men”. Hyjinx and adventure, with a bit of magic and mythology thrown on. Very fun! I hope this is not the last we see of these characters!

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I'm having a really hard time deciding what age group this is intended for. I got it thinking it was an adult novel, then I started reading it and going "Is this middle grade? No wait it must be adult... YA? No, that seems decidedly middle grade... But THAT is decidedly NOT middle grade content. ...Well huh." It was just that sometimes the humor was a little too on the nose, if that makes sense. I'm pretty sure this is an adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel with that particular quirky sense of humor that runs in the same vein as authors like Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Piers Anthony. If you like the brand of humors of the aforementioned authors, then this book is for you!

I love how hilarious and absurd this book is, but still manages to have a coherent plot. Holiday hijinks at their finest for sure! I especially adore the glimpses of backstory Hooker gives of Santa Claus and his elves, and Santa's dark past as a mighty warrior. It reminded me heavily of the version of Santa you see in the movie Rise of the Guardians (except I picture him younger and super hot). I am also 100% here for the teensy hints of romance between Santa and Volgha. Santa + Volgha 4eva.

Hooker's world building is also really fun, playing off Norse mythology, the mythos around Santa Claus and the North Pole, and then his magic system is just zany and fun. (Especially the reason witches get brooms to fly, which I will not ruin for you - you'll have to read the book!) I'd have loved some more explanation about why the rulers of the Kingdom of Aurora were each more mad than the last - but maybe that was in there and I was too overloaded by text to remember it. The first chapter or so is SUPER information overloaded and heavy, and is a tough slog to get through. But it's worth it because once you break through that first icy layer, the rest of the going is pure powdery winter wonderland magical dream snow. (Yes, that was a lot of adjectives, wasn't it? You're welcome.)

In summary: Adult book with a sense of humor that might appeal to those with a bit of a peculiar sense of humor (read: potty jokes), Norse mythology and vikings and Santa (oh my!), holiday hijinks, more Santa + Volgha please. Now I wait for a sequel in which we get more of Santa's mighty warrior backstory, and also him and Volgha smooching. Preferably a lot. Because while this is a fantasy novel, I am a romance girl at heart. ;)

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This was such a delightful read, I am so, so glad I picked it up! While some of the content of the book makes me think it's perhaps not really for children, The Winter Riddle has the whimsical atmosphere, witty dialogue and wonderful characters you'd wish for in a fantasy middle grade. Gosh, this was such a fun read! Witches + Vikings + a rather mad queen? A tree that used to be a druid? What's not to love??

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My Review: I saw this book and the synopsis sounded like an interesting take on the Santa origin story. I did really enjoy the fantasy influence as well as the various myths that are pulled into the book. Unfortunately, I did struggle with this one, it is a slow and cumbersome read, which I don't always mind but during the busy holiday season, it was a bit much for my liking. I also struggled with the satire humor, I have said this before that I struggle with this in books and this one had a lot of it. I think a lot of readers who enjoy that humor influence in their books will really enjoy it.

My Rating: I did really enjoy several elements in this story, particularly Santa being a Viking-like warrior. This was just not the right book for me at the right time. I still give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

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The Winter Riddle was a perfect pick for a fun fantasy read in December. While Santa Claus is a great character in this book (and I loved his origin story and how the act of delivering presents started) this story is really about The Winter Witch, Volgha, who just wants to be left alone but keeps getting stuck in the middle of everyone’s problems.

This was a very funny read (I laughed out loud a few times) and has everything you could want from a fantasy book, witches, greedy queens, frost giants, necromancers, druids, the gods of Asgard (including Loki), a sassy familiar, and of course Santa and his elves, while not becoming overwhelming or a circus of a story. I loved Volgha’s personality and her consistent threat of hexing those who vexed her, it was great to see Krespo the elf help his friends even though he was terrified most of the book, and I couldn’t get enough of Volgha’s familiar Redcrow and his commentary on everything she did. Surprisingly, this book got a little deeper with the idea of moving on from the prejudices of past generations and the idea that friendships can come in all shapes and sizes.

This was definitely a fun winter read for fantasy lovers filled with plenty of jokes, sass, and hexing people although if you’re not a fan of the genera is may not work for you as it really leans into riffing the tropes of the genera.

Thank you Netgalley for my free review copy

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After having read and enjoyed Peril in the Old Country, also by Sam Hooker, I was excited to receive this from Netgalley for review. This is my fair and unbiased review.

It becomes clear very early in this book that it is written with much of the same wit and humor that we saw in Peril, and also filled with ridiculous characters and unlikely situations, but it is also quite the different story altogether.

Volgha is the heir to the crown of White Queen, a position that she has no interest in whatsoever. In fact, she simply wants to be left alone. Her sister on the other hand embraces the title of the White Queen, and she proves to be the source of the greatest misery for Volgha, who can hardly tolerate the queen’s silly antics. The most outlandish is revealed when the queen and her best friend, Loki (the Norse God of Mischief), create a challenge to create a riddle that Loki cannot solve. The trick is that he has to fool himself.

Yes, it is as weird as it sounds… but in a good way.

I was not prepared for how well the characters were handled in The Winter Riddle. Each character was written well, many of whom had a good deal of depth. And the cast of characters was very diverse ranging from Vikings to Frost Giants and even Santa and his elves. Volgha (the White Witch) is taken way out of her comfort zone to partner with some and stand opposed to others as she seeks to get this over with and go back into hiding.

This book takes much of the traditional concepts of the North Pole and its inhabitants and gives them a fresh makeover, or perhaps more accurately, a complete re-boot. While this story may not fit within the canon of classic Christmas literature, it certainly holds its own and is well worth a read for someone who is looking for something different.

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Santa, a witch, giants, Odin, Thor and Loki all in one novel. You would think it would be weird but this was one of the best books. I am definitely a fan of Sam Hooker. As an author I would describe him as a cross between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Very creative. I can’t wait to read more. This was my second or third novel I read by him and definitely will read more.

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