Book Review: ‘The Castle’ by Nikki Moyes

A highly original and engaging short read.

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Nikki Moyes The Castle
‘The Castle’ is a fantasy/scifi short story about Risha, who finds herself vulnerable because of her age and place in society.

 

This is a story in which the author has created an empowering female lead character for a YA audience, something that we definitely need to see more of at this point in time. Rather than dwelling on her weaknesses, Risha focuses on her strengths and uses them to face the situation in which she finds herself.

 

The reader is quickly immersed in Risha’s world, becoming an observer and looking over Risha’s shoulder as she transforms from an observer into an actor in the story that unfolds,  taking some surprising turns that keep the reader guessing.

 

Highly original and engaging, this is a great short read that can easily be enjoyed in a lunch break.

Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded ‘The Castle’ a Gold Acorn.

 

Find your copy on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor’ by Amy M. Reade

Someone does not want Carleigh Warner to restore Peppernell Manor to its former glory. Just who that person is turns out to be a more complicated question than the reader initially supposes.

Amy M. Reade The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor
Someone does not want Carleigh Warner to restore Peppernell Manor to its former glory. Just who that person is turns out to be a more complicated question than the reader initially supposes.

 

Set in an antebellum mansion outside of Charleston, surrounded by old money, old blood and old memories, Peppernell Manor is full of mystery and intrigue that develop steadily as the story progresses.  The reader does feel as though they are transported to the south, and as though the house and characters take shape before them as they read. Some of the minor characters are somewhat underdeveloped, but that doesn’t detract from the story too much, but rather adds to the plot in the sense that the reader continues to be suspicious of them and their motives as the plot thickens.

 

I started this book expecting it to be more about haunting and less of a contemporary mystery, and although that wasn’t quite the case, I was neither disappointed by the story nor by how it worked out.  Acorn Award II Silver

 

I’m awarding ‘The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor’ a Silver Acorn as a very enjoyable mystery story.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Crossroads of Draston’ – An Anthology

A varied and entertaining fantasy collection.

‘Crossroads of Draston’ delivers a varied collection of highly original fantastic tales of elves, dwarves, mages, people and beasts, and of the challenges and struggles they face. All of the stories are well-written and engaging.

As with any anthology, some were more to my taste than others. Of all these Dragonband Tales, those that appealed to me most were ‘The Librarian’ and ‘Magic Within’.

In ‘The Librarian’ the reader is introduced to Wiggum, a delightful gnome burdened with insatiable curiosity, who discovers that even seemingly benign actions can have significant consequences. I really wanted this story to be much longer.

Alaya, the central character of ‘Magic Within’, is the kind of heroine I really love – loyal, brave, and dogged, fully committed to freeing those who are enslaved and serving justice to those who deserve it. I would really like to read the next “chapter” in her story, too.

This collection offers everything from high fantasy to more visceral and macabre stories, so there is something for all fantasy lovers here.

Acorn Award II SilverBook Squirrel has awarded ‘Crossroads of Draston’ a Silver Acorn because it’s an entertaining and varied fantasy anthology.

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Fairytale Christmas’ by Merrie Destefano

This was Book Squirrel’s Bookish Advent Event selection on December 20, so it’s lovely to be able to award ‘Fairytale Christmas’ a delicious Gold Acorn on Christmas Eve!

Merrie DeStefano FairyTale Christmas

A magical story of the power of love and its ability to endure despite time and evil. The tension of the opening chapters is gripping, setting the scene for the rest of the story to build and develop.

The seamless blend of original fantasy, paranormal elements and legend makes this book unique and fascinating.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.

Golden AcornsThis was Book Squirrel’s Bookish Advent Event selection on December 20, so it’s lovely to be able to award ‘Fairytale Christmas’ a delicious Gold Acorn on Christmas Eve!

Find it at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘A Steampunk Christmas Carol’ by Angelique S Anderson

This new take on the classic tale is both enjoyable and intriguing.

Angelique Anderson A Steampunk Christmas Carol

This new take on the classic tale is both enjoyable and intriguing.

The steampunk elements added a different element, and the design of the spiritual world which Anderson has created and is really interesting. This spiritual layer of ‘administration’ is superimposed seamlessly over the Victorian society of which Dickens also wrote in ‘A Christmas Carol’, upon which this story idea is based.

The characters of Wylie and Adrian are likeable, and serve as an effective foil to Langdon, whose selfish and greedy ways come under scrutiny as the story progresses.

This novella works quite well as a stand-alone story, but is also interesting enough to make the reader want to read the rest of Anderson’s Dracosinum Tales series.

‘A Steampunk Christmas Carol’ is suitable reading for YA and older readers.
Silver Acorns
This book is a really good read and, as such, is awarded a Silver Acorn.

‘A Steampunk Christmas Carol is available on Amazon.

Dec 22 ~ Featured Book: ‘Goldmayne’ by Kate Stradling.

This is a blend and retelling of two quite obscure fairy tales from French-Canadian folklore. As Quebec is one of Book Squirrel’s favourite places in the whole world, this was a “must” for Christmas reading. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 22 is ‘Goldmayne’ by Kate Stradling.

This is a blend and retelling of two quite obscure fairy tales from French-Canadian folklore. As Quebec is one of Book Squirrel’s favourite places in the whole world, this was a “must” for Christmas reading. Kate Stradling Goldmayne

Evil witches, cursed royalty, heroes by happenstance, and happily ever after: Duncan does not believe in fairy tales, but when he runs away from his father’s farm, he tumbles headlong into one. Old Dame Groach recruits him as caretaker of her crumbling estate, where he must tend her poisonous garden, beat her white horse daily, and keep far away from the mysterious closet beneath the stairs… and that’s only the start of his fantastical troubles! A retelling and shameless embellishment of the French-Canadian folk tales, “Scurvyhead” and “Sir Goldenhair.”

‘Goldmayne’ is available on Amazon.

Dec 20 ~ Featured Book: ‘Fairytale Christmas: A Fair Folk Saga’.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 19 is ‘Fairytale Christmas: A Fair Folk Saga’ by Merrie Destefano. 

This is the first installment in the Saga of the Fair Folk, a journey that lasts until the end of time.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 19 is ‘Fairytale Christmas: A Fair Folk Saga’ by Merrie Destefano.

Merrie DeStefano FairyTale Christmas

 

Three thousand years ago, a war began between the immortals and the mortals. It’s a war that continues to this day…

Before history began, a legendary queen battled a foreign army, braved the death of her husband, and faced betrayal at the hand of someone she trusted. This is the story of Eire, Queen of the Faeries, the Immortal One, and the leader of the Tuatha de Danann.

To this day, her homeland, Ireland, bears her name, and this is the story of the war that drove the Immortal Ones into exile. It’s also the tale of how she found help from an unexpected place, leading her to a love like she had never known before.

Fairytale Christmas is a story that spans thousands of years. It’s also the beginning of all of our fairytales and legends; it’s where mortals and immortals survive because they love one another, proving that love is the greatest gift of all.

This is the first installment in the Saga of the Fair Folk, a journey that lasts until the end of time.

‘Fairytale Christmas’ is available at Amazon.