Book Review: ‘Sweet Destiny’ by Aliya DalRae

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

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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.

Book Review: ‘Love Bites’ by TL Clark

An excellent, adults-only fantasy/paranormal read.

T.L. Clark Love BitesWhen Shakira leaves her parents and drives away to find a new life for herself, she is completely unaware of just how complete that change will be.

‘Love Bites’ is a story of learning to deal with change, but also one which emphasises the power of the struggle for supremacy between light and dark, and goodness and evil. Shakira grows and develops from a young woman fully aware of the fact that she doesn’t fit in to someone who must accept and learn to embrace her origins in order to survive.

The story is cast with well developed characters, none of them perfect but many of them very likeable. Shakira herself is developed not only through her experiences and relationships, but also through how she deals with what is imposed upon her. There is more than one lesson for all of us in this, and the reader is challenged to consider their own choices and ethics in the way they communicate and relate with others.

The narrative is well-crafted, weaving together a number of plots and subplots, various settings and significant challenges for the characters that often leave the reader holding their breath without even realising. The dialogue is engaging, reflecting both the author’s and the characters’ intelligence and adding further depth to the characters and to the action of the story. Clark’s design and development of characters, including a new and unique species of creatures, and of rich and varied settings, is elegant and complex, paying careful attention to detail without causing any wordy distraction for the reader. The pace of the story is effective without being overwhelming, making this book an absolute page turner.

There is some adult content so it is not recommended for younger audiences, but ‘Love Bites’ is sure to please adult lovers of both fantasy and paranormal reads.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Love Bites’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Necrozmancy: A Short Horror Story’ by Lucretia Stanhope

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story.

Lucretia Stanhope Necrozmancy

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story, ‘Necrozmancy’ is a short read that can be enjoyed in less than an hour.

The characters are darker and more sinister than in the original tale, and yet I prefer them this way. I always enjoy the opportunity to see how things end up differently when characters take an alternative path, and Stanhope’s reinvention of Dorothy and Toto in particular is magnificent.

This story is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but lovers of the macabre and horrific will certainly enjoy it.

Acorn Award I Golden
Because it tickled both my funny bone and my dark side, I have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: (Almost) Average Anthology: Tales Of Adventure, Loss and Oddity by Jason Nugent.

A collection that displays the range and power of Nugent’s dark imagination.

Jason Nugent Almost Average AnthologyThis interesting and varied collection opens w ith an astounding personification of death that challenges the reader to confront their fear and think more philosophically about death as an entity rather than an event.

 

Once he has the reader’s attention, Nugent carries them from scene to scene, ranging from bleak to grim, to macabre. Each story delivers a thought-provoking punch or a clever twist that takes the reader by surprise.

 

I chose to enjoy these short stories individually rather than one after another in close succession, and found each one to be very well executed. As a collection, they display the range and power of Nugent’s dark imagination and his ability to deliver each story with a profound effect.

Acorn Award II Silver

This book has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

 

Book Review: ‘The Unlikeliest Candidate’ by J. S. Frankel

An absolutely ripping read for NA and grownups.

Jesse Frankel The Unlikeliest CandidateHarry Cannell’s life is going to hell in a handcart – fast. He’s a regular guy with regular problems that start piling up until one extraordinary event changes everything for him.

It’s great to find a brilliant story that revolves around a character who is actually so ordinary and who struggles to make sense of exactly how he arrived at the point in life where he finds himself as the book opens. This makes him relatable to the reader, and positions them to feel sympathy for the misery he experiences.

This story is a unique blend of mystery, sci-fi, comedy, romance and adventure all in one. It’s a great escape into the realm of ‘What if?’ that tempts the reader to wonder and hope that there might actually be something more, some unrealised possibilities that we simply overlook as we pursue life as we know it.

There is some physical intimacy in this book, so it’s suitable for New Adult audiences and up, rather than YA.

‘The Unlikeliest Candidate’ is an absolutely ripping read from start to finish.
Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded it a Gold Acorn for brilliant storytelling and great writing.

Find your copy at Amazon.