Guest Post: Darkling by Brooklyn Ray

Good morning! Let’s start this week of a bang, shall we? We’re super excited to have Brooklyn Ray, author of Darkling, on From Top to Bottom Reviews with a truly magical guest post – they let us take a peek into Ryder’s and Liams grimoires! 


Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course. 

Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone. 

Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk. 

Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.

Goodreads | Ninestar Press | Amazon
Release Date: January 8th

Annie’s review


In DARKLING the characters each have their own Grimoire – a private journal filled with spells, magical findings, and experiments relevant to their practice. A lot of witches use a Grimoire or a Spellbook to document their spiritual journeys. Grimoires shouldn’t be seen by other witches unless they have permission from the owner and usually the only people who share the details inside their Grimoires are witches who are in a circle together.

The contents of someone’s Grimoire will vary from witch to witch, depending on how they practice. This is definitely the case for The Port Lewis Witches. Ryder, our Fire witch, has darkness in his veins, and Liam, our Water witch, uses predominantly elemental magic.

What would their individual Grimoires look like?

Ryder’s Grimoire would be filled with unanswered questions. He would probably be brainstorming, trying to list different tools or items that would align with his Fire magic and still help him control his Necromancy. Because Fire is an elemental magic and Necromancy is a transfigurative magic, the two wouldn’t be easy to balance.

Planetary sigils paired with scribbled descriptions would take up a lot of space:


Ryder would also have crystal grid templates and tarot spreads in his Grimoire. A lot of witches keep track of changes based on what their readings say. For Ryder and Liam, a tarot reading is the beginning of their story, prophesizing a dark partnership that could end in tragedy.



You’ll find blood stains, crushed flower petals and candle wax next to Ryder’s scribblings. You would probably find page upon page of year-old heart break spells he tried to conjure to help him fall out of love, too. Obviously, they never worked.

Liam’s Grimoire would be entirely different. His would be far more artistic. Watercolor phases of the moon, dried herbs taped to the pages and stains from ocean mist curling the edges of the paper. I imagine Ryder and Liam would both keep the writing in their Grimoires to themselves, but Liam would be especially cautious since he tends to write poetry about Ryder next to paintings and spells and journal passages.


Besides poetry, Liam also tries to create spells to help with his school work. He’s in college and it isn’t easy being a circle, being in love and being a student. Sometimes studying falls to the wayside. That’s where magic comes in – or he hopes magic will help at least.


Because Liam is a Water witch he would do most of his spells near or in water, like the focus spell above is done in the bath. He would try to execute his larger, more impactful spellwork in the ocean. However, the ocean is full of volatile, sensual magic and it doesn’t always work the way Liam wants it to. This will be explored in the next installment UNDERTOW but here is a snippet of what he feels at the ocean. This page in his Grimoire was written journal-style right before the scene in DARKLING when he goes to the full moon party at Tyler’s house.


Ryder and Liam have very different Grimoires, but like most witches, they use them as journals, notebooks, secret-keepers and textbooks. They keep their magical findings there, and tend to scribble about each other more often then they’ll both ever admit.


Brooklyn Ray is a tea connoisseur and an occult junkie. She writes queer paranormal romance layered with magic, rituals and found families. Her first published work REBORN appeared in Into the Mystic, a Sapphic anthology from Nine Star Press. She continues to write stories in the Port Lewis world, most recently, DARKLING, and soon, UNDERTOW (2018).

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Genre: Contemporary Genre: Paranormal Identity: Transgender Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Nine Star Press Tag: Friends to Lovers Tag: Guest Post Tag: Magic Tag: Part of a series

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