Book Review: A Wolf in the Dark’ by S.E. Turner

S.E. Turner A Wolf In The DarkRather than being a sequel to ‘A Hare In The Wilderness’, this is the parallel story that converges in some places with the first book, although is never repetitive as it is told from a completely different perspective.

Once again, Turner explores themes of human nature, perseverance and overcoming in this action-packed story which is as original as its companion volume. While there are certainly moments filled with despair and fear, the author focuses the reader on the positive mental strength and determination of the lead characters in enabling them to endure their trials.

Unlike the first instalment of the story, a good deal of the action of this story takes place at court, answering some of the readers’ questions and heightening their involvement in both levels of the story. Once again, the story is full of engaging and likeable characters, along with a few who are easy to detest, while the occasional blurring of those boundaries makes the story even more interesting.

While the most central character is male, there is also a very strong and resourceful female lead character who personifies the qualities of loyalty and teamwork in a way that is inspiring for all readers. Something I really like to see in a story is people being united by their challenges and working together for good, regardless of gender, class or anything else that might divide them.

With many positives woven into the one compelling story, ‘A Wolf In The Dark’ would work perfectly well as a standalone, but is even better enjoyed in the context of its companion story. Acorn Award II Silver

I have awarded this great book a very solid Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

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Book Review: ‘Locksley Vol. 1 – Brotherhood’ by Mark Brownless

‘Locksley’ is an entertaining and very worthwhile read.

Mark Brownless Locksley 1 BrotherhoodThis book takes me back to the days of watching Robin Hood on TV in old black and white movies, and in the cartoon series in which Robin was a fox. The legend of Robin Hood is one I grew up with, and yet ‘Locksley’ delivers a fresh and interesting portrayal of the character and the stories that surround him.

This is only a short volume, but it is a most enjoyable one. It captures some of the history of the time at which the stories are set, framing legend with the history with which it is so richly entwined. It is well-written and the characters are nicely developed.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘Locksley’ is an entertaining and very worthwhile read which has left me keen to read the next instalment. It has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Feral’ by Lucretia Stanhope

‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.

Lucretia Stanhope PPK 2 FeralIn this sequel to ‘Tainted Waters’, Alice has moved into the next phase of her life as a Paranormal Peace Keeper. Although reconciled to her heritage, she still has many questions about who and what she really is, and where her value lies as both an individual and as part of the organisation to which she belongs.

Those questions continue to plague her as she undertakes her most challenging mission yet, with a new partner who poses problems of his own for our protagonist. who still struggles to come to terms with her lifelong issues with trust and belonging. As with the first book, Alice has to make choices where there is no good option, and then work to make those choices turn out for the best. This is one of the elements of these books that I really appreciate – life isn’t straightforward or easy for most people, and the turmoil that Alice experiences at times is something that I can really relate to.

Stanhope is a master of juxtaposing light and dark, and fear and trust, in a way that adds depth to both the characters and the plot as the story unfolds. As with ‘Tainted Waters’, ‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.
I found this to be an intriguing and enjoyable read – so much so that I didn’t want to put it down.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Feral’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in storytelling.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Bad Candy’ by India Emerald

Bad Candy: fun for adults, not so good for kids.

India Emerald Bad CandyThe title of this wicked little book is the first indication that it’s not all going to be about sweetness and innocence. In fact, it’s a romp full of magic, mystery and mayhem through the land of Charmnia, where some very bad business has been cooked up.

This story is a lot of fun, infused wtih good humour and plenty of action, and populated by a varied cast of characters, some of whom are more tasteful than others. As Marvelo discovers, it’s hard to know who to trust in a land where everything is sugar-coated, but he’s determined to find the answers he needs.

One important thing to note is that some of the humour is oriented toward adult understandings, so even though the book has a candy theme and motifs, it’s probably not suitable for audiences younger than mid-teens.
Acorn Award II Silver

This was an enjoyable short read at the end of a busy day, and it made me laugh. I’ve awarded it a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Freedom’ by R.M. Gauthier.

‘Freedom’ is a real page-turner, full of intrigue and suspense.

Renee Gauthier LM 3 FreedomThe third and final book in the Mystery of Landon Miller series, Freedom answers the questions that readers have wanted the answers to since reading ‘Control’ and ‘Bound’. Far from being about light-hearted romance and alternative lifestyles, ‘Freedom’ turns the spotlight onto Landon’s experiences and point of view in a way that raises some really important issues.

It’s really great, as someone who has read ‘Control’ and ‘Bound’, to get that different point of view that really opens up the main character and explores his motivations and concerns. It makes it much easier for the reader to empathise with Landon after having felt so much concern and sympathy for Lexi in those previous two books.

I also really appreciated the fact that the author was able to complete the story and maintain continuity with the previous books without going over old ground or telling parts of the story over again. Instead, the events in ‘Freedom’ fit neatly into that story like pieces of a puzzle, completing the bigger picture that carries with it so much more understanding.

If you enjoyed ‘Control’ and ‘Bound’, you really need to read ‘Freedom’ for the answers. If you’ve not read any of this series yet – you should! Not only do these books offer a great mystery/thriller read, they’ll open your eyes to important issues and open your mind to seeing things from different points of view.
Acorn Award I Golden

A real page turner, ‘Freedom’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find 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.

‘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.