Dani is a Book & Wine Pairing Blogger from the mountains of West Virginia. She loves to read anything she can get her hands on while sipping on a glass of wine and snuggling with her fur-babies.

Professional ReaderReviews Published

The Winter Riddle 

By Sam Hooker


Publisher: Black Spot Books
Publication Date: November 1, 2018
Genre: Adult, General Fiction, Sci-fi, Fantasy



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.


Author Bio:


Filling up novels with nonsense is hard work. Well, it’s work, anyway. And someone’s got to do it. Well, no one’s got to do it, but if no one did, then no one would. That’s why my work is so important. Well, maybe not important

– Sam Hooker

Sam has a degree in Communication from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. He also has a certificate proclaiming him a Qualified Irish Whiskey Taster from the Jameson Distillery in Dublin, Ireland. He considers them equally important to his work.

Originally from Texas, Sam currently lives in southern California with his wife Shelly, his son Jack, his dog Cervantes, and a cat who insists on being left out of all of this silliness. His name has been redacted.

 Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Amazon / Goodreads

Review & Wrap-Up:

 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) 


Pair it with: B Side Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, seamlessly blended with a small amount of Merlot, Syrah, and Malbec. After a combination of open and closed-top fermentation, the wine was then aged for twelve months exclusively in French oak.

B Side is a soulful, full-bodied, bold North Coast style of Cabernet Sauvignon, with solid fruit concentration and round, smooth tannins. This well-balanced wine finishes with a signature stamp of French oak. Pair with beef, lamb or game, as well as hard, mature cheese. Also, make sure to pair with The Winter Riddle by Sam Hooker!

Pick up a bottle today!

Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.