Book Review: ‘Starblazer: Through The Black Gate’ by Reiter

A really enjoyable sci-fi epic.

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Reiter Starblazer
‘Starblazer’ is a genuine sci-fi epic, action packed and loaded with conflict, power struggle and suspense. The world building is incredible, immersing the reader in a realm that is both fantastic and believable at the same time. The writing is clean and the story is coherent and really well developed.

The real strength, though, lies in the characters. Their flaws balance their abilities and strengths in a way that makes them believable and still complex enough to remain unpredictable. The subversive humour that emerges in certain characters is refreshing and very engaging.

In contrast to the stereotypes of science fiction, which I acknowledge as the main reason I read less of it that I otherwise might, I really liked the fact that the female characters are central to this story, They are intelligent, self-sufficient and powerful in their own right.

This is a big book, but it’s a real page-turner with an entertaining story and lots of action and energy.Acorn Award I Golden

Starblazer has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

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: ‘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: ‘The Dragonheart Stories: Fairy Tales for Grownups’ by Jane Jago

A magnificent adults-only collection of dragon stories!

Jane Jago The Dragonheart StoriesOne of my favourite things to discover is a book that gives the reader a sense of the author’s own personality. The incidental humour and quirky characters in these stories are evidence of a creative mind brimming with ideas and unafraid to follow them wherever they lead.

The Dragonheart Stories Is a brilliant collection of short stories that are imaginative, sensual and highly original — and definitely not for children! Very conservative readers would probably not appreciate them either, although this reader considers that to be very much to their own loss. The stories are much like the nature of their dragon characters: magnificent, beautiful, rowdy, complex, and at times aggressive, but at the same time filled with insight. Each story is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The narration instils in the reader a sense of reverence for the dragons, but also considerable affection for the central characters.

Acorn Award I Golden

I really hope there are more of these stories to come. It is only fitting that this humble squirrel should pay these wonderful dragons tribute with a Golden Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Sweet Destiny’ by Aliya DalRae

Third in the Jessica Sweet trilogy, ‘Sweet Destiny’ will knock your socks off.

Aliya DalRae Sweet DestinyWhat. A. Journey.

While reading this third book in the Jessica Sweet trilogy, without a word of a lie, I have cheered, I have held my breath, I have raged, and I have wept.

Theories I had maintained from reading ‘Sweet Vengeance’ and ‘Sweet Discovery’ were confirmed and developed, and my questions were answered in unexpected ways. The sensation of looking on as the lives of people I had become close to almost burned to the ground was at times almost unbearable, but yet I had to read on. I had to know how it all worked out.

It was hard to put this book down. I read it in two sittings, and finished it with new respect for some old characters, and interest in seeing what might happen in the future with some new ones.

Of one thing I am sure: an author who can take a reader to both the heights of excitement and the depths of despair is a blessing to readers in a world where humdrum and cliche often seem to overwhelm the market. Aliya DalRae is a gifted writer, and I will one-click her books forever.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Sweet Destiny’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Artist’ by Lyra Shanti

The Artist: A magnificently rich historical romance.

Lyra Shanti The ArtistThis novel tells the story of a gifted artist and musician from youthful desperation to the dizzying heights and desperate lows that are the successes and failures of Apollo Vidali’s life. The reader is immersed in the decadence of the gifted artist and musicians’s life and mind as he searches for meaning, fulfilment and redemption. Vidali immediately appeals to the reader’s sympathy in his resistance to his father’s oppression and restraint, which contrasts with his own salacious and self-indulgent nature.

Magnificently and richly written, the narrative is enhanced by layers of poetry and vivid imagery that embellish the characters and settings with intricate detail and splashes of colour. The characters are complex and varied, and more than once I found them bringing the story to life on the movie screen of my mind.
Not only is this a most enjoyable read, it’s a wonderful sensory experience. There is mature content, so it’s not intended for a young audience.
Acorn Award I Golden
‘The Artist’ has been awarded a Gold 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.