Book Review: ‘The Trouble with Antlers’ by A.J. Culey

A fun read for MY and YA readers.

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A.J. Culey Shifter High 1‘The Trouble With Antlers’ is the first in A.J. Culey’s Shifter High series. The premise and storyline of the book are fun: what happens when humans move to a town populated entirely by shifters? It makes for an entertaining read, enriched with situational comedy and a good number of lighthearted moments to balance those full of teen angst and embarrassment.

While the series is written for a young adult audience, this book proved to be both enjoyable and interesting for this adult reader. While it may not have the depth and heart-in-your-throat moments that something like Harry Potter has, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: a reader doesn’t always have the energy or the desire to have their heart broken seven times or more in each sitting.
Acorn Award II Silver

If you’re looking for a light read that is fun and engaging, this is a great choice. As such, it has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find the series here.

Book Review: ‘Tales From The Seaside’ by Claire Buss

A varied and enjoyable collection of short stories.

Claire Buss Tales from the SeasideExcursions to the beach. Excursions on a bus. Excursions of the imagination.
All complex. All expressive and thought-provoking.
Each one will take you somewhere different.

Some of these pieces are fictional, others are more observant reflections on the author’s own experiences. Readers will find them all quite relatable and realistic in their portrayal of the lives of ordinary people. Subtly embedded beneath the surface of many of these stories is a layer of quite incisive social commentary that turns the lens back on the society in which we live.The stories are long enough to explore an interesting idea, and short enough to fit comfortably into a break in a busy day or enrich an evening before bed.

Acorn Award II Silver

Enjoyable and refreshing in its variety and depth, ‘Tales From The Seaside’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Summer Of My Enlightenment’ by Kristy Dark

A well-written and complex psychological thriller.

51pGX1V5G5L‘The Summer of My Enlightenment’ is , on one level, the story of Angela and her search for meaning and fulfilment after a tragic event, but it’s also an interesting study of the nature of obsession, infatuation and narcissism and the danger that exists when they interact.

There is so much I could say about my anger toward particular characters, and my desire to see them suffer some consequences for their actions, but I don’t want to give any spoilers. Be prepared, though, for some strong emotional responses as the story unfolds. And if mind games and manipulation are trigger points for you, it’s probably best to choose a different book.

A well-written and complex psychological thriller, this book certainly kept me guessing. There was suspense and frustration aplenty, and there were numerous surprises and twists along the way. Both of the central characters are flawed and conflicted, which often makes a reader sympathetic to one or both of them, which others very well may be; however, I found it hard to warm to either of them. This certainly added an extra layer of “chiller to the thriller” for me, but also added to my frustration because there was a large degree of dramatic irony involved in my reading of the story.Acorn Award II Silver

I have awarded this book a Silver Acorn because it ticked all the “dark fiction” and “suspense” boxes, but left this reader somewhat dissatisfied at the end.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Tea and Dark Chocolate’ by Debbie Manber Kupfer

A fun read for older children and MY readers.

Debbie Manber Kupfer Tea and Dark Chocolate‘Tea and Dark Chocolate’ is a delightful collection of short stories and poetry for older children and younger YA readers. Some pieces are magical, others whimsical, but all are entertaining and interesting.

This book would suit any kids who are interested in stories about magic, fantasy creatures and amusing situations. It’s lighthearted and fun, and should engage even readers with a short attention span.

This book works perfectly well as a standalone, but also serves as a nice introduction to the author’s P.A.W.S series of #paranormal books for the same audience.

Acorn Award II SilverAn enjoyable read, ‘Tea and Dark Chocolate’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Leshy’ by N.C. Stow

A great story for families to enjoy together.

N.C. Stow The LeshyA short story drawn from Russian folklore, ‘The Leshy’ is a poignant story of a girl who understands and accepts that she is different to others, and must discover her true destiny in order to fulfil it.

Although not quite as evocative as the author’s other Russian-inspired story, ‘The Kupala Night’ which was reviewed on this blog in February 2018, ‘The Leshy’ is an interesting story well told. The imagery used and the retention of Russian names for household items and places give the story a distinctly folky-fairytale feel that is both charming and very effective in helping to draw the reader into the story.

‘The Leshy’ is a short read that would be suitable for families to read together, and for older children to enjoy on their own.

Acorn Award II Silver

This delightful story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Pratima’s Engines’ by S.A. Gibson

A very enjoyable Steampunk short read.

SA Gibson Pratimas EnginesPratima’s Engines is a short steampunk story of conflicted interests and opposing priorities set in post-Collapse India. It is an interesting and enjoyable story, although I would have liked to see the mystery and tension developed more before the story reached its climax.

The central character, Armeena, is very likeable and easily gains the reader’s sympathy as she discovers uncomfortable truths about her own situation. She provides a positive role model not only in her resilience, but also in her loyalty to her friends.

Acorn Award II SilverPratima’s Engines provided a pleasant and relaxing diversion in an otherwise busy day, and is well worth a read. I have awarded it a Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Dear Moviegoer: Tales from Behind the Velvet Curtains” by Margena Adams Holmes

If you’re ever frustrated by things people do at the movies, this book is for you.

Margena Adams Holmes Dear Moviegoer
‘Dear Moviegoer’ is a collection of short pieces addressed to folks to go to the cinemas, from the point of view of a theatre employee. Some of the entries are lighthearted, some are informative and provide some great practical tips for improving one’s moviegoing experience. Others are slightly snarky – and with good reason! Personally, I would have liked to see more snark, but that might just be me. I love snark.

It’s fair to say that until I read this book, I had no idea of the extent of the bad behaviour that movie theatre employees have to put up with. On a “decent human being” level, I’m appalled at what some people think is acceptable. That the author managed to communicate her responses and explain the finer points of cinema etiquette in a polite and straightforward manner, often with a touch of good humour, is a mark of her good character.Acorn Award II Silver

An enjoyable read, ‘Dear Moviegoer’ has been awardeda Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.