Book Review: ‘A Meadow in Saanich: Not Quite a Ghost Story’ by Valerie Albermarle

Valerie Albermarle A Meadown In Saanich

This beautifully written short story transports the reader to a place where history and the present cling and ghosts are said to linger in the mist. In a beautiful west Canadian setting, Albermarle teases the reader’s imagination into suspending doubt and disbelief aas they follow Kaiya on a mysterious adventure. The author successfully evokes feelings of nostalgia and affection for times gone by and delivers the story as though the events within it are not unusual at all.

Silver Acorns

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Meadow in Saanich’, so I’ve given it a lovely Silver Acorn.

You can find this book and others by Valerie Albermarle at Amazon.
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Book Review: ‘Fractured’ by Nikki Landis

Nikki Landis Fractured

A short companion story to Landis’ The Fight For Light series, this is a powerul and deeply moving story. In one sense it might be interpreted as a love story, but it is far more than that – it is a tale of sacrifice, resistance and hope against hope that one day, the darkness might not always win.

In this, I found ‘Fractured’ to be a profound story to which I could relate in a very personal way.

Much of my own poetry is an expression of that same hope: that the demons and the darkness might be overcome. It’s an age-old story, but Nikki Landis has crafted it in an original and compelling way. Her characters are complex and flawed, and her exploration of how fascinating evil can be is incredibly perceptive.

Although it belongs to a series, this book works well as a standalone story. Prior to reading ‘Fractured’, I had not read any of the full novels in the series to which this story is a companion, but I now plan to do exactly that.

Silver AcornsThis is an excellent read that can be completed in one day if desired, or enjoyed over a longer period without losing track of the story.

Nikki Landis The Fight For Light SeriesI’m giving it a lovely Silver Acorn!

Fractured and all of Nikki Landis’ books are available on Amazon.

Book Squirrel Review: The Quantum Soul Anthology

Anthology The Quantum SoulThere are some fantastic authors included in this collection. Lyra Shanti, Claire Buss, E.M. Swift-Hook and Alan Van Meter are authors whose work I’ve read and enjoyed before, but I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to read work from authors that are new to me.

Obviously in an anthology, some will be more to one’s taste than others, but even those that I haven’t really gotten into have been really well written, very interesting and engaging stories. There are some really intriguing variations and blends into the realms of fantasy, magical realism and dystopian stories, as well as more classic scifi stories in this collection.

If I had to pick two favourites – which is quite a challenge – they would be the contributions by Jeanette O’Hagan and Lyra Shanti.

Project Chameleon, Jeanette O’Hagan’s account of Jerren’s experiences of being transformed into a cyborg, is both confronting and thought-provoking. The imagery is sharp and powerful. Writing from a perspective within Jerren’s mind is highly effective in positioning the reader to feel empathy and feel complicit in his thoughts and responses.

The Endymion Device by Lyra Shanti is a Sci-fi detective story with a distinct noir feel to it. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Shanti’s Shiva XIV series, and I love the way she writes. This compelling story is completely unrelated to that series and has a very different premise and setting, but is just as rich in imaginative detail.

This book is jam-packed with great value for the price.
Silver Acorns

It’s a Silver Acorn award for an excellent collection of great stories.

Get your copy today at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ by S L Tsao

SL Tsao The Early Delivery
People often speak of guardian angels and of visitations or visions, but the idea of angel postmen delivering messages to humans at appointed times is clever and thought-provoking, and one I had not encountered before. I found this concept, and the personalities of the different characters very engaging.

This is a heartwarming story with the tales of the antics of Clair, a lazy angel, embedded and woven within it. It is written with humour and a light-hearted tone, but also with some vivid imagery and quite evocative writing that added depth and impact to the writing, particularly in the cliffside conversations between the young woman and the elderly man who functions as the storyteller.

It seems to me that although English may not be the author’s first language, Tsao has certainly written with both fluency and flair. While there are times when the words do seem to flow less easily and the grammar is a little stilted, this does not necessarily detract from the story, nor did it significantly diminish my enjoyment of it. Every writer has their own style, and in our globalised world, readers can generally adjust accordingly with ease.

Overall, ‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ is an enjoyable book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading lighthearted clean romance and humour. I’ve given it one of my lovely Silver Acorn awards.

Get your copy on Amazon today!

Book Review: Calmer Girls

Jennifer Kelland Perry Calmer Girls
‘Calmer Girls’ doesn’t fall into my usual preferred genre, but that didn’t stop me enjoying this book. I was engaged from the start when it opened with a scenario that was instantly familiar to me: teen sisters fighting and competing with one another. As the younger sister in my own family, I could relate to Samantha’s frustrations and sensitivities, even though my sister and I competed and fought over different things than Samantha and Veronica do. The complications and conflicts between Samantha and Veronica are portrayed very realistically, and the reader is drawn into developing a strong sense of empathy for their general situation, as well as for the circumstances of particular characters.

I love that this book is set in Newfoundland and that part of the story relates to the experiences of the families of the fishermen who live there. The author has embedded plenty of details that really do evoke the unique character of St Johns and life in the Canadian Maritimes, so the setting felt very familiar and homey to me because I have visited the Maritimes and have friends there.

I really liked  the frequent references to the classic books such as ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ that Samantha likes to read because they gave me a stronger connection to this story. They weren’t overbearing or super nerdy, yet they communicated clearly that Samantha sees life and thinks at a deeper level than her sister. That positioned me to like her even more than the fact that she is the central character.

I found the characters to be believable and quite well-developed, and the story compelling.

‘Calmer Girls’ will hold immense appeal for anyone who enjoys YA romance and drama.

Silver Acorns
I’ve given ‘Calmer Girls’ a silver acorn.
You can get your copy at Amazon. There’s a sequel, too!

Book Review: ‘Michael’ by Valerie Albermarle

One of the marks of a wonderful writer is that they are able to capture the reader’s imagination from the outset. When Michael wakes up to a clock that reads 15:74, the reader is drawn into the mind of Michael and into the world where he works so hard to make sense of things. So many questions are raised in both Michael’s mind and that of the reader, both directly and by inference, that one is keen to discover the answers.

Valerie Albermarle Michael

Albermarle’s writing is delightfully visual. “Out in the street a robust wind played with sparkling beads of the night’s rain.” It is images like this that make reading a book like ‘Michael’ so engrossing: the imagination is regularly fed a delicious morsel that keeps one hungering for more.

Michael is a complex and well developed character. By revealing different layers of his life and personality at different times, the author invites the reader into something of a relationship with the character, developing empathy with him as the story progresses. Quirky and thoughtful, Michael is a man to whom the reader warms very quickly.

The author often leads the reader to contemplate the significance of time, not just in terms of a rogue clock, but also in how we think about time and often disregard it. This adds a layer of reflection to one’s reading of the story, causing one to think about their own relationship with time and deadlines and further engaging them in the premise of the book.
“Round clock faces without beginning or end gave the illusion of infinite repetitions, infinite new chances, while digital clocks showed only how early or late you were for an event in your infinite life. But old instruments like sand or water clocks weren’t shy about telling people that the time runs out, and life together with it.”

At times the story picks up a new strand, which leaves the reader wondering but intrigued until, before long, things fall into place and the fabric of the story begins to be woven together from all those different threads.

The best way to experience this story is to not be set in one’s expectations of what it will be or what it will deliver. Allow the author to stimulate and lead your thinking. The structure of the story, and the story itself, are reminders that life is not predictable or set in stone. Approaching stories, or life itself, with an open mind provides endless possibilities, while closing doors leaves one alone with disappointed expectations.Silver Acorns

I very much enjoyed the journey that this story took me on. I’ve awarded it a Silver Acorn.

‘Michael’ by Valerie Albermarle is available on Amazon.