Book Review: ‘Warm Shelter: A Ghost Story’ by Rich Hawkins

A powerful, dark short story.

Advertisements

Rich Hawkins Warm ShelterThis is a powerful story of one man’s descent into darkness. The author has drawn the reader into that journey by positioning them to look over Alex’s shoulder to see what he sees, but also by expressing the character’s thoughts and feelings in a really natural and familiar way. It’s a very good story, combining elements of horror, macabre, and suspense to keep the reader in the grip of the rising tension as the story progresses.

Perhaps the most striking quality of the story is the writing itself. It’s lean and precise but, at the same time, incredibly sensory and poetic. Hawkins skilfully causes imagery to flash into the mind of the reader and linger for a moment in such a way that the reader can not only see but also smell and taste those images, until the next scene and the next image takes its place. Hawkins makes great use of suggestion and foreboding to gradually darken the story, allowing the reader time to hypothesise and question before reaching the conclusion of the story. These elements combine to imbue the story with a nightmarish quality that evolves subtly at first and grows stronger as the tension of the story builds.

It’s a short read, but one that has a significant impact on the reader.  Acorn Award I Golden

‘Warm Shelter’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: Born Into Chaos by Lily Lamb

A blend of fantasy, paranormal and fairy tale in one powerful story.

A Drew Born Into Chaos‘Born Into Chaos’ is a compelling story of love, loss, abuse of power and retribution. Spanning centuries and drawing on folklore and legend, and with a touch of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ too, the story of the halfling Adamas unfolds as one in which he must discover his destiny and work to fulfil it in order to find peace and resolve the pain of the past.

This is a really enjoyable read that blends fantasy, paranormal and fairy tale and, as fairy tales tend to do, delivers some important lessons about the meaning of life along the way.

Acorn Award II Silver

For these reasons, ‘Born Into Chaos’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: Road to Terror by S.K. Gregory

SK Gregory Chills 1 Road to TerrorA short story laden with fear and doubt, the author takes the reader on a dark road with Aria. Aria is unknown but the urgency and desperation that Gregory creates is effective in hooking the reader into Aria’s flight and developing sympathy for her situation.

The story is well-crafted and comes with a great twist that is delivered very effectively. Acorn Award II Silver

Road To Terror has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Replacement’ by Bianca Sierra-Luebke

A sci-fi novel that is well worth reading.

51tsXWRXbDLThis is a fascinating and enjoyable sci-fi read. The story is compelling and the characters are well-developed, becoming better understood by the reader over time as their histories and motivations are revealed.

The author uses both Angelica, the main character, and the Lymerian race and its interaction with humanity on earth to explore questions of identity, destiny and free will. There is a powerful divide between “then” and “now” developed in both levels of this story, created in Angelica’s story through the flashbacks in her dreams, and amongst the Lymerians in the almost wistful tone in which they speak of what used to be while clinging to the structures and rules of their society.

The world-building is quite neo-classical, yet enhanced by technologies and extraordinary abilities among the people that make Krisenica an original and complex place. The Lymerian social system and history add interest and a sense of mystery, while the main character’s struggle to reconcile her experiences and understand the events happening around her add emotional depth and ensure the reader’s loyalty toward her.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘The Replacement’ is well worth reading and will hold definite appeal to sci-fi readers who are looking for something new and original to read within their preferred genre. It has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ’50 Habits of Highly Successful Authors’ by Jo Lajko

A helpful and practical guide to achieving success as an author.

Jo Lajko 50 Habits

In this helpful volume, Jo Lajko shares his experience and insights in the world of book marketing.
His advice is practical and easily understood, and provides a wealth of insight and understanding for authors who need to know how to produce the best book they can, and how to market that book when it’s published.

Lajko offers advice for authors who choose to pursue traditional publishing as well as for those who choose the Independent route. He consistently encourages them, whichever path they pursue, to write well, to ensure that the editing is excellent, and that the marketing is focused, and offers very helpful hints and tips that help each writer to achieve those things.

Lajko’s overall message is that authors need to create the whole package, of which their book is only one part. He gives step-by-step instructions about how an individual writer can develop their platform and audience so that their book is produced, received and promoted consistently well.

One of the points that Lajko makes very strongly is the importance of gratitude. This really resonates with me as an Indie author, because I have seen for myself the difference it makes to be part of an author community that is supportive, encouraging, and thankful. I have been inspired by those who are thankful enough for their own success that they will mentor and encourage those who are just starting out, and I have benefited from their expertise and wealth of knowledge.

Jo Lajko is generous and enthusiastic in sharing his expertise and knowledge in ’50 Habits’. As an author, I am very thankful that he has done so.  Acorn Award I Golden

This book has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Leopard in the Mist’ by S.E. Turner

This book, and the series to which it belongs, come highly recommended.

2018-09-18 19.28.17“Is that why we mourn so much in death, for the unsaid word in life? Is that why we can’t let go, for misplaced promises and the lost hours that we try to grab when it’s all too late?

Embedded in this beautiful story is a profound exploration of grief and loss, and the struggle that humans have in resolving their emotions and experiences when they confront the inevitable changes that accompany the passing of someone they have loved and valued.
At more than one point in the narrative, the reader is compelled to consider those soul-searching questions again as the overwhelming power of grief resonates deeply within both the characters and the reader.

It is a moving and at times heart-wrenching story of coming of age and fulfilling destiny by making the right decisions, not just for oneself but also for the society in which one lives.

The strands of different characters’ stories are drawn together in this book, having been interwoven and overlaid throughout the series so far. Overall, the series provides a rich and broad tapestry of narrative that blends earthen tones with royal purples and other vivid colours and textures.

When one of the characters reflects on the events and challenges of the past, and the things he has learned about society and humanity, he says “I personally can’t see a successful future where one person thinks they are better than another person.” This is where the relevance of this series for each of us is really driven home: when we treat one another as equals, we are all better off, both individually and collectively.

The third in Turner’s ‘KIngdom of Durundal’ series, ‘A Leopard In The Mist’ brings this excellent trilogy of books (thus far) full circle, providing unity and resolutions not only for its own part of the story, but also for the first two books in this excellent series.  Acorn Award I Golden

This excellent novel has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

 

If you have not read ‘A Hare In The Wilderness’ or ‘A Wolf In The Dark’, they come highly recommended.
Click on each title to read my reviews of books 1 and 2 in this fantastic series.

 

 

Audiobook Review: ‘A Blessing In Disguise’ by C H Clepitt

A delightful short story audiobook that can be enjoyed in one sitting.

CH Clepitt A Blessing In Disguise AudiobookI’ve enjoyed every book by C.H. Clepitt that I’ve read, so I was keen to see how this book worked as an audiobook.

The story is read by Margaret Ashley. Her voice is very expressive and easy to understand, with a lovely British accent that makes listening a pleasure. The reading of the story is well paced and articulate, so it’s easy to follow.

The story itself is lighthearted and whimsical, the sort of thing you’d find on a lovely British TV sitcom. With the subtitle “Life Begins at 48”, this story uses warmth and humour to draw the audience into the all-too-familiar-these-days scenario of a middle-aged woman’s life taking unexpected turns one after the other. The main character Linda is likeable and, although somewhat cynical, takes the surprises and twists of life in her stride. ‘A Blessing in Disguise’ reminds the audience that problems and complications do sometimes bring their own rewards, and that life really is what we make of it in choosing how we will respond and resolve the situations we find ourselves in.

A fairly short story of 26 minutes’ duration, it’s easily enjoyed in one sitting.

Acorn Award I GoldenThis excellent audiobook has been awarded a Gold Acorn, and is also available as an ebook.

Find your copy here.