Book Review: ‘Familiar Betrayal’ by Lucretia Stanhope

The fourth book in Stanhope’s Elemental Witch Trials series does not disappoint.

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Lucretia Stanhope EWT 4The fourth book in Lucretia Stanhope’s Elemental With Trials series, ‘Familiar Betrayal’ takes Gwen and the reader deeper into the darkness, not only of magic and the use of power by various entities, but also of her own desire for vengeance and quest for justice.  Her need to resolve issues of the past before giving birth adds an urgency to the unfolding of the story, and means that Gwen is forced to ponder consequences that cannot be predicted, and to make decisions whose outcomes remain to be revealed.

There is much at stake for Gwen, but also for the realms that battle one another for supremacy. The tension in this book comes not only form waiting to see how Her personal circumstances work out, but also from Gwen’s questions about whether or not she can make any real difference, or if she is merely trading off one form of evil against another.

While some of the issues and problems of the past are resolved, Gwen finds herself confronted with new and significant challenges. Even when things seem to be going well, the reader is still aware of the tension that exists both within Gwen and in the worlds in which she lives. Her character continues to evolve with experience and knowledge, making her both admirable and a positive model in the reader’s eyes.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Stanhope has yet again ensured that the story is gripping and interesting as it progresses into each new phase.

Acorn Award II Silver
Familiar Betrayal has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

 

‘Nerra’s Children: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Children is the third short story of the Dragonhall prequels to Dragonhaze,

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 3The third short story of the Dragonhall prequels to Dragonhaze, ‘Nerra’s Children’ is darker and more sobering than the others. The magin are still being persecuted and put to death, and Nerra faces challenges more heartbreaking than ever before.

Although older and less impulsive, Nerra remains the strong, loyal woman that we have seen her become in her first two stories. By the time the reader finishes this third story, they are familiar with Nerra and her world, and keen to discover more in the pages of Dragonhaze, the novel that follows.

Like the others in the series, this evocative story is very well written.
Acorn Award II Silver
This poignant and evocative story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Run: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Run is the second of three short story prequels to Dragonhaze.

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 2
The sequel to ‘Nerra’s Flight’, this second instalment in the Draginhall Chronicles short story series is set some years later. Children with magical abilities are still being captured and killed, and the authorities are still pursuing Nerra.

‘Nerra’s Run’ is darker and more suspenseful than the first. The author establishes a strong sense of foreboding that continues to build as the story develops. Older and still determined to defy those who want her captured and killed, Nerra remains a character whose bravery and determination are admirable, and with whom the reader can sympathise strongly. She is developed with additional depth in this story in ways which both increase the reader’s affection and support for her, and fill them with anxiety for her future.

The action in this short story moves at a steady pace, carrying the reader along as the tension rises.

Once again, Mirren Hogan has excelled in her storytelling craft.

Acorn Award II Silver
This beautifully written story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Flight: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Flight is the first of three short story prequels to Dragonhaze.

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 1Nerra’s filght introduces Nerra, a young adult magin, living in a world in which even the ability to use magic is punishable by death.

The first of Nerra’s stories, ‘Nerra’s Flight’ tells of her attempt to escape those who would punish her for her abilities. Dragons, suspense and adventure await!

The story is engaging and interesting, and the reader quickly warms to both Nerra and her sister. It’s a brief but enchanting introduction to this series of stories, of which I am definitely keen to read more.

Acorn Award II Silver
This beautifully written story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Waiting Room’ by Jonathan Kent

A suspenseful and thought-provoking short story.

Jonathan Kent The Waiting Room‘The Waiting Room’ is a suspenseful short story that builds up slowly to a surprise ending. The author effectively establishes a strong sense of curiosity and anticipation that grows to a profound crescendo as the truth of Gary Simpson’s situtation is revealed.

There were some nice twists in the story development, aided by subtle details that suddenly became relevant as the story progressed. I enjoyed the story and the deep sense of ironic humour with which it is loaded.

This thought-provoking story is easily read and enjoyed in under an hour, which makes it an ideal read for busy readers or a great filler for a lunchtime break.
Acorn Award II Silver

‘The Waiting Room’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Dance Plays On’ by D. Denise Dianaty

The Dance Plays On is an enchanting original Victorian Gothic story.

Denise Dianaty The Dance Plays On‘The Dance Plays On’ reads quite like a Victorian Gothic story. All the classic elements are present, and yet this story is quite original. In an opening scene that could have come right out of Austen’s ‘Mansfield Park’, the author introduces the main character, her guardian, and a handsome, heroic young man.

Elspeth is the most fully developed of the characters, while some remain somewhat two-dimensional. It must be said, though, that this is neither unusual nor out of place for a story of this length. While immediately positioned to like and favour Elspeth, the reader is less enamoured with her guardian, Mrs McIlroy, and experiences quite some relief to see her develop so that she becomes less aloof and detached, and actually demonstrates genuine care and affection for both Elspeth and her beau.

I enjoyed the melancholy, haunting tone and the eerie foreshadowing of the second half of the story, which kept the “heroine in distress” trope from being cliched or predictable.
Acorn Award II Silver

This beautiful story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Forever Boy’ by Lita Burke

‘Forever Boy’ is a delightful clockpunk short read.

Lita Burke Forever Boy
‘Forever Boy’ is a delightful clockpunk story of the difference made in one young life when kindness and generosity cause bad magic to be replaced with good.

Kadmeion and Bright are nicely developed magical characters who drive the narrative. Instantly likeable, they engage and involve the reader through their rescue and rehabilitation of a small dog who, like many things in the magical world, turns out to be so much more than what he initially seemed.

This is a great read to enjoy in less than an hour, making it ideal for bookworms with busy lives, or to fill in a lunch break.
Acorn Award II Silver

‘Forever Boy’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.