Book Review: ‘Embrace The Darkness and other short stories’ by P.J. Blakey-Novis

Six stories for readers who enjoy their fiction dark and original.

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PJ Blakely-Novis Embrace The Darkness
This book is a collection of six dark stories that are just the right length to read during a coffee break.

Each of these stories paints a unique scene in which the central character experiences the darker side of life. Some macabre and some more horrific, each story surprises and intrigues the reader with a twist or a barb in the tale.The stories are well written and should please those readers who enjoy their fiction dark and original.

Enjoyable and varied, this book has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Readers can buy a copy at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘A Little Favor’ by Erich Schubach

An enjoyable short read set in 1930s Germany.

Erik Schubach A Little Favor
When Jillian agrees to do a little favour for a friend, things take a turn for the worst. Thus we see her drawn into a world that she never expected to be part of.

 

This is an enjoyable short story, easily read in less than an hour. Some of the 1930s slang – which would have been quite at home in an old black & white detective noir film – was a little mystifying, but the story was generally quite well told.

 

I liked the personal qualities that made Jillian stand out amongst pre-war stereotypes, and which she drew on in order to complete far greater errands than that initially entrusted to her.

Acorn Award II Silver

As an enjoyable short read, ‘A Little Favor’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

 

Readers can buy a copy of the book at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Forest of Ancestors’ by K.A. Denver

Book Squirrel Review: ‘Forest of Ancestors’ by K.A. Denver

K.A. Denver Forest of Ancestors

 

This is a great story which holds a good level of mystery and intrigue that develops at a good pace as the plot progresses. The differences between light and dark magic, and the ways in which each character uses their magic, add interest and complexity to the story. The central characters are varied and quite well crafted although, as a reader, I didn’t really feel as connected to most of them as I would have liked to.

 

I really like the concept of the forest of ancestors as a place of memory as well as of magic, and the ways in which that setting is portrayed and developed in the story. The images were formed quite vividly in my mind as I read, and it was good to see the characters fully engaging with, and responding to, this special element of their environment in personal ways.

 

My one criticism – and it is a real annoyance as a reader – is that there were places in which the writing really needed more thorough editing to remove quite obvious errors that remain in the text. A less fastidious reader might not notice all of them, but a couple of them were quite glaring and should never have made it to the final manuscript.

 

Overall, though, I did enjoy this book. It has some quite original elements and surprising turns that complement the strong storyline.

 

Acorn Award II Silver
I’ve awarded ‘Forest of Ancestors’ a Silver Acorn because, despite its flaws, it is a great read.

 

Get your copy at Amazon.

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Book Review: ‘When Leaves Fall’ by C.A. King

A powerful and emotive short story that is well worth reading.

C.A. King When Leaves Fall
‘When Leaves Fall’ is an emotive and powerful story that will remain relevant as long as neglect and prejudice exist.

The author has cleverly crafted a story that positions the reader to empathise with Ralph and abhor the way in which he is treated long before all the facts of his situation are known.

This is a great short read that one can enjoy in less than an hour and still be left with something significant to ponder. It’s an ideal “busy person” or “busy day” read.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘When Leaves Fall’ has earned a Silver Acorn award.
Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor’ by Amy M. Reade

Someone does not want Carleigh Warner to restore Peppernell Manor to its former glory. Just who that person is turns out to be a more complicated question than the reader initially supposes.

Amy M. Reade The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor
Someone does not want Carleigh Warner to restore Peppernell Manor to its former glory. Just who that person is turns out to be a more complicated question than the reader initially supposes.

 

Set in an antebellum mansion outside of Charleston, surrounded by old money, old blood and old memories, Peppernell Manor is full of mystery and intrigue that develop steadily as the story progresses.  The reader does feel as though they are transported to the south, and as though the house and characters take shape before them as they read. Some of the minor characters are somewhat underdeveloped, but that doesn’t detract from the story too much, but rather adds to the plot in the sense that the reader continues to be suspicious of them and their motives as the plot thickens.

 

I started this book expecting it to be more about haunting and less of a contemporary mystery, and although that wasn’t quite the case, I was neither disappointed by the story nor by how it worked out.  Acorn Award II Silver

 

I’m awarding ‘The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor’ a Silver Acorn as a very enjoyable mystery story.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘All The Nothing We’ve Done’ by Christina McMullen

If you died suddenly and were confronted with the reality of having to justify your deeds to get into heaven, what would you say?

 Christina McMullen All The Nothing We've Done.jpg
If you died suddenly and were confronted with the reality of having to justify your deeds to get into heaven, what would you say?

 

‘All The Nothing We’ve Done’ revolves around this very question in a light-hearted and often humorous way, yet it is an interesting and thought-provoking read.

 

The reader is reminded that what one person considers sinful might be seen as virtuous by another – perspective and interpretation are key factors in how we view and evaluate others actions, or our own.

Acorn Award II Silver

I enjoyed this short story very much, and am pleased to award it a Silver Acorn.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Dowling House’ by A. Drew

The Dowling House blends some nicely developed Gothic and macabre elements with some moments of pure horror. It is indeed a most satisfying creepy read.

A Drew The Dowling House

A tragic story of possession, grief and despair that crosses the boundaries of generations and spiritual realms, The Dowling House leaves the reader resolved to neither simply dismiss the unknown nor to underestimate the power of evil.

The story is quite well crafted, luring the reader into the presence of evil by appealing to that morbid fascination with the mysteries of spirits and ghosts that is so often a part of human nature. George and Melissa are realistic characters, and even though there were times I really wanted him to toughen up and be more useful, his responses to his experiences were probably how many of us would respond in similar circumstances, so I have had to forgive him for that, especially since he does actually do the right things when it matters.

The Dowling House blends some nicely developed Gothic and macabre elements with some moments of pure horror. It is indeed a most satisfying creepy read.

Acorn Award II Silver

I’ve awarded The Dowling House a Silver Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.