Book Review: ‘A Sprig Of Holly’ by J.A. Clement

A delightful tale full of winter magic.

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This is a delightful tale full of winter magic with well developed fairy tale qualities that enrich the story telling.

While the characters are not very complex, they are likeable and engaging, and the reader does develop a sense of empathy and concern for them at the beginning of the story that helps to hook them into the events of the tale.  Of course, it is a short story, so the characters are not required to be developed in any depth or detail. It is enough that they do what they do and that the story is beautifully told.

The story also has some lovely Yuletide elements, although not so much that it is only a story for the Christmas season. 

This would be a lovely story for family reading, particularly on a winter’s night. 

‘A Sprig Of Holly’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

There are more stories in this series, which I’m keen to read!

Book Review: Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology

A great collection for Holiday reading.

The Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology is a wonderful family-friendly collection of holiday themed short stories that embrace diversity and explore a variety of ways in which different families and individuals celebrate Christmas.

Each of these stories and poems gives a different perspective that encourages the reader to consider a different point of view to their own, and provides an opportunity for reflection as well as entertainment. 

The stories in this book are written for readers of varying age groups, and so provide some lovely opportunities for family reading and sharing together. 

I very much enjoyed the two afternoons I spent reading these stories, and am pleased to award this book a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here

Audiobook Review: ‘The Rite of Wands’ by Mackenzie Flohr.

‘The Rite of Wands’ audiobook is excellent.

I read and reviewed ‘The Rite of Wands’ over a year ago, but only just picked up the audiobook. I’ve really only started listening to audiobooks in the last couple of months, and knowing how much I enjoyed reading the book, I was keen to add this to my collection. 

I was delighted to find the story to be just as fresh and exciting, and to be able to immerse myself in  the world of Mierta McKinnon once again. 

This audiobook is excellent. The narration is clear and expressive, and the use of voice, tone and accent to develop the individual qualities of different characters is wonderful. 

It is a pleasure to award ‘The Rite of Wands’ another Gold Acorn. 

The audiobook is available on both Audible and Kobo. 

Book Review: ’Santa’s Chair’ by Randall Allen Dunn

An enchanting Christmas story with a classic feel.

Not everyone believes in Santa, but Henry Burrows wants to. In the time-honoured tradition of great Christmas stories, though, things aren’t always so straightforward. 

‘Santa’s Chair’ is the story of Henry’s visit to a city department store to see Santa and the magic that can happen when a young child believes. 

This is a delightful and well-written story that can be read and enjoyed in less than half an hour. It’s a good story for any age, and would be great to share as a family during the pre-Christmas season. It has the feel of a classic story, and definitely has the potential to become one. 


‘Santa’s Chair’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Audiobook Review: ‘A Blessing In Disguise’ by C H Clepitt

A delightful short story audiobook that can be enjoyed in one sitting.

CH Clepitt A Blessing In Disguise AudiobookI’ve enjoyed every book by C.H. Clepitt that I’ve read, so I was keen to see how this book worked as an audiobook.

The story is read by Margaret Ashley. Her voice is very expressive and easy to understand, with a lovely British accent that makes listening a pleasure. The reading of the story is well paced and articulate, so it’s easy to follow.

The story itself is lighthearted and whimsical, the sort of thing you’d find on a lovely British TV sitcom. With the subtitle “Life Begins at 48”, this story uses warmth and humour to draw the audience into the all-too-familiar-these-days scenario of a middle-aged woman’s life taking unexpected turns one after the other. The main character Linda is likeable and, although somewhat cynical, takes the surprises and twists of life in her stride. ‘A Blessing in Disguise’ reminds the audience that problems and complications do sometimes bring their own rewards, and that life really is what we make of it in choosing how we will respond and resolve the situations we find ourselves in.

A fairly short story of 26 minutes’ duration, it’s easily enjoyed in one sitting.

Acorn Award I GoldenThis excellent audiobook has been awarded a Gold Acorn, and is also available as an ebook.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Dragon School: First Flight’ by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Compelling YA fantasy that captivates the imagination.

Sarah KL‘Dragon School: First Flight’ is a compelling YA fantasy adventure story. Filled with danger, excitement and discovery, this book introduces Amel Leafbrought, a teenage girl embarking on life as a trainee dragon rider.

Amel does not see herself as heroic, yet she is. She does not allow her disability to limit either her dreams or her determination, nor does she give in to the taunts from those who cannot see past it. She does, however, allow herself to express the fear and misery that is all-too-familiar to those who bear the brunt of discrimination and bullying. The reader develops empathy with Amel not because of the way in which others treat her, rather than because of her disability, purely because while her physical limitations are challenging, they are not the greatest cause of distress to her. The ways in which she responds to both kinds of challenge are generally positive and proactive, and allow her individual qualities to shine. The realisation that she has abilities others do not is a source of encouragement to both Amel and the reader.

The author has portrayed the best and the worst qualities of humanity in the characters that make up the cast of the story. Some are kind, some are hateful, while others are indifferent for various reasons. In this, a fact of life is portrayed quite realistically: each of us has to work out who we can trust, who we cannot, and who are our allies if we are to find our path in life and navigate it successfully.

‘Dragon School’ captivated my imagination as powerfully as I remember Harry Potter doing when I first read it, but it is most definitely not a “copycat” concept.

There are so many elements of this book that work really well. The world building is unique and interesting, the social systems are complex and fascinating at the same time, the complications and challenges are dangerous, and the things for which Amel and her peers must strive are important.

I am excited to see this narrative develop and expand, and to see Dragon School and Amel become the enormous success that it deserves to be.

This series is now on my “one-click”list, and all who love YA fantasy, magic, and dragons should ensure it is on theirs, too.  Acorn Award I Golden

While ‘Dragon School: First Flight’ is only a short book, it is a most excellent one, and most worthy of a Golden Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘January Black Ice’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

An excellent little mystery story.

Carol Ann Kauffman Cat Collier 1It is a skilful writer indeed who can captivate a reader, transport them to a new place and situation, introduce them to new people,, and then hold them there throughout the story. Carol Ann Kauffman is one such writer. Having been impressed by her writing style when reading her fantasy novella ‘Red Sarah’, which I enjoyed immensely, I was keen to pick up another of her works.

‘January Black Ice’ is a delightful, feel-good cozy mystery. The story is really well written. It flows easily, has great variation in pace and tone where it’s needed, and maintains a high level of engagement between the readers and the characters through tense and relaxed moments alike.

Kauffman writes lively, likeable characters whose stories intertwine in such a way that the reader thinks it’s going to be a romance until the mystery bursts onto the page in front of them, seamlessly turning the story in a new direction for local journalist Cat and for Carter, the mysterious new guy in town.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I’m pleased to see that there are more titles in the series. I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with Cat Collier. Acorn Award I Golden

This excellent little mystery has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.