Book Review: ‘Saving Cecelia’ by Elle Botz

A poignant, powerful story.

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Elle Botz Saving Cecilia'This story is not long but it sure packs a punch. It is powerfully emotive, not only in the writing but also in its messages about caring for those we love and maintaining our relationships with family beyond what is merely convenient or, worse still, shallow tokenism.

‘Saving Cecilia’ is the story of Cee Cee and her grandmother, Cecilia, and the love between them that endures despite the ravages of grief, time and Cecilia’s dementia.

I found that I could identify strongly with Cee Cee, having cared for my own mother during her own battle with that soulless disease, and having experienced many of the same anxieties and sorrows that Cee Cee did. Her character was very honestly and thoughtfully developed, particularly through her relationship with Cecilia and her thoughts and responses to the events and other characters of the story.

This is a story that everyone from mid-teens and older should read, because at some time in our life, most people will know a Cecilia or a Cee Cee if they are blessed enough to not actually become them.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Saving Cecilia’ Has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Locksley Vol. 2 – Sherwood’ by Mark Brownless

This new retelling of the Robin Hood legend is engaging and full of action.

Mark Brownless Locksley 2 SherwoodThis second instalment of Mark Brownless’ new retelling of the Robin Hood legend is as engaging and full of action as the first. As the tension between the rebels in Sherwood Forest and the soldiers of Guy of Gisborne escalates, the reader is drawn deeper into the forest and positioned alongside Robin of Locksley’s band, ready for battle.

The characters are developed with more complexity as the story progresses, so that the reader sees their humanity as well as their heroism. The author has explored more of the back stories behind key characters such as Robin and Little John, and the growing familiarity with them further engages the reader’s loyalties.

Unlike many of the older accounts of Robin Hood that I remember, this one features strong and independent female characters who make valuable contributions to the outlaw cause, rather than looking prettily helpless and needing to be rescued or defended.  This certainly doesn’t come across as a 21st century construct based on feminist sensitivities or politics, though – it feels genuine and respectful, and reminds the reader of the historical fact that there were indeed women living  and fighting for the cause alongside the men, and they were equally as brave and committed to resisting the corrupt agents of government that ruled over them all.

I’m really enjoying this series, and I’m looking forward to the next instalment.Acorn Award I Golden

‘Locksley Vol. 2 – Sherwood’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Series Review: The ‘Christmas Miracle’ series by R.M. Gauthier

A novella series that mystery lovers will not want to miss out on!

This series of mystery novellas by R.M Gauthier is lighthearted and refreshing, although not without complications and moments of tension.

Each of these short stories provides a lovely diversion from a busy day or week by drawing the reader into the fictional world of Christmas Town, where the spirit of the festive season lingers all year round. Each is short enough to read in one sitting, but long enough to conveniently put down at the end of a chapter and resume reading later.  They’re great stories for all year round, and certainly not limited to the seasons in which the titular seasons occur.

The main character, Jack, is well developed and quite likeable. The air of mystery that surrounds his arrival in town over summer is intriguing, and definitely hooks the reader into the story.  Gauthier cleverly plays on the unresolved questions he brings with him, drawing the reader further into the story at the same time as further entangling Jack with every development and surprise in the plot.

Charlotte is an intriguing character – she appears to be open and easily read, but there is always an understanding that there’s much more to her than meets the eye. As Jack is surprised to discover, she’s just the person to keep him guessing and on his toes.

Other characters enjoy more development as the series progresses, so the reader also has opportunities to see more of  Bill, Christian and Hope as they appear in the successive stories.

These novellas are a change of pace for R.M. Gauthier, who has also been featured on this blog as the author of the more psychological mystery thriller series featuring Landon Miller.Acorn Award I Golden

All of Gauthier’s books are available on Amazon, and are free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

The Christmas Miracle Series is available in a boxed set, or as individual titles.

This is definitely a Gold Acorn series that mystery lovers will not want to miss out on!

Book Review: ‘The Leshy’ by N.C. Stow

A great story for families to enjoy together.

N.C. Stow The LeshyA short story drawn from Russian folklore, ‘The Leshy’ is a poignant story of a girl who understands and accepts that she is different to others, and must discover her true destiny in order to fulfil it.

Although not quite as evocative as the author’s other Russian-inspired story, ‘The Kupala Night’ which was reviewed on this blog in February 2018, ‘The Leshy’ is an interesting story well told. The imagery used and the retention of Russian names for household items and places give the story a distinctly folky-fairytale feel that is both charming and very effective in helping to draw the reader into the story.

‘The Leshy’ is a short read that would be suitable for families to read together, and for older children to enjoy on their own.

Acorn Award II Silver

This delightful story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Dear Moviegoer: Tales from Behind the Velvet Curtains” by Margena Adams Holmes

If you’re ever frustrated by things people do at the movies, this book is for you.

Margena Adams Holmes Dear Moviegoer
‘Dear Moviegoer’ is a collection of short pieces addressed to folks to go to the cinemas, from the point of view of a theatre employee. Some of the entries are lighthearted, some are informative and provide some great practical tips for improving one’s moviegoing experience. Others are slightly snarky – and with good reason! Personally, I would have liked to see more snark, but that might just be me. I love snark.

It’s fair to say that until I read this book, I had no idea of the extent of the bad behaviour that movie theatre employees have to put up with. On a “decent human being” level, I’m appalled at what some people think is acceptable. That the author managed to communicate her responses and explain the finer points of cinema etiquette in a polite and straightforward manner, often with a touch of good humour, is a mark of her good character.Acorn Award II Silver

An enjoyable read, ‘Dear Moviegoer’ has been awardeda Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Journey of a Lost Manuscript’ by Lorraine Smith

A fascinating true story of the discovery of a Tudor document in 21st century Australia.

Lorraine Smith Journey of a Lost ManuscriptThis is a fascinating true story of a vellum manuscript from Tudor times, its discovery in a bookshop in Warrnambool in 2013, and the journey of discovery undertaken by Lorraine Smith to learn of the manuscript’s history.

It’s really well-written with an easy-going, conversational tone that makes the reader feel as though they’re just listening to the author tell her story, so it’s very relaxing and enjoyable to read. The reader gets a good feel for the character of the author as well as the different personalities she has encountered in the course of her investigations.
The story is complemented by very clear and interesting photographs and maps.

Because it is such an interesting read, ‘Journey of a Lost Manuscript’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.Acorn Award I Golden

Find your copy on Amazon or contact Spectrum Books in Warrnambool, Australia.

Book Review: ‘Snowberry Blossom’ by Missy Sheldrake

Missy Sheldrake 3.5

‘Snowberry Blossom’ is a short story companion to the ‘Keepers of the Wellsprings’ series of fantasy novels by Missy Sheldrake. It fits into the chronology of the narrative after ‘The Call Of Sunteri”, the second novel in the series, but works perfectly as a stand-alone story that introduces the characters and the kingdom in which they live.

 

Set on Midwinter’s Eve, it’s a heartwarming story of love, loyalty and teamwork that will entice the reader to read the rest of this excellent series.

 

‘Snowberry Blossom’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for absolutely magical storytelling.

Find your copy here.