Book Review: ‘Sweet Suffering’ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another excellent part of a series I have really been enjoying.

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Book eight in Stanhope’s Elemental Witch Trials series continues Rose’s story with some powerful and compelling developments.

This instalment explores the balance of power and strength not just between key characters, but also within some of them more personally and individually. It also pays deeper attention to issues of heredity and consequence at a deeper level than previous books in the series. Some episodes of this novel are confronting, while others are devastating for the characters and the reader alike.

As with every other part of this excellent series thus far, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

‘Sweet Suffering’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘The 12 Terrors of Christmas’ by Claudette Melanson

A great holiday read for anyone more interested in “boo” than “ho ho ho”… but definitely not for kids.

What if your most basic assumptions bout Santa turned out to be wrong?

Is he just a jolly old fat guy who delivers presents, or is there much, much more to his story?

Claudette Melanson presents a somewhat different version of Santa in these twelve stories, which are well-crafted and well told. There is some lovely connectivity between the stories, which is sometimes quite overt and at other times sneaks up on the reader and takes them by surprise.

This is a great holiday read for anyone more interested in “boo” than “ho ho ho”.  Do take the title seriously, though: this book is definitely not for kids, as there is some quite graphic content.

‘The 12 Terrors of Christmas’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Penny White and the Temptation Of Dragons’ by Chrys Cymri

A most excellent read… with dragons.

This is a brilliant read. 

Unpredictable, interesting and exciting, this book is full of diverse and complex characters that challenge and compel one another in various ways as the story progresses.

Penny White is delightfully snarky and very human, and endears herself to the reader immediately  as she responds with empathy in a most unusual situation.  As the story unfolds, the reader finds themselves immersed in a whole new fantasy adventure. The story is highly original and very entertaining.  

The way in which the author has positioned this world and its “neighbour” world is fascinating, and the ways in which the two worlds are linked physically, but also through the sharing of creatures, issues and mysteries that must be solved make the story so very engaging and involving for the reader that it is very hard to put the book down until the final page is read.

The world building and logistics are thoughtful and carefully developed, so that the story moves between this world and the alternate world quite smoothly and logically. 

I am excited to have discovered this fantastic new series, and am very pleased to award this book a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy of ‘Penny White and the Temptation Of Dragons’  here.

Book Review: ‘The Awakening’ by A. Drew

A really great macabre mystery!

Part mystery, part macabre horror and part paranormal suspense, ‘The Awakening’ is a very good read.

The story is interesting and complex, cast with believable characters who face their biggest challenge ever while just trying to get through life from day to day. 

The central character is a regular teenage guy named Phil, who faces his own questions of identity and belonging by trying to fit in with the “in crowd”, as so many teens do. This sets off a disturbing chain of events that intrigue the reader and draw them deeper into Phil’s life as the story unfolds. 

This is the prequel to The Dowling House, but works perfectly well as a standalone book.

It’s a really good read. I have awarded ‘The Awakening’ a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.  

Review: ‘A Murder of Crows’ by Ian Skewis

An excellent mystery that keeps the reader guessing right to the very end.

As a reader, I really love a mystery that is well-crafted and keeps the reader guessing right to the very end. ‘A Murder Of Crows’ is one such book, and I find myself unable to recommend it highly enough. 

Delusion and illusion obscure truth and reality in this suspenseful, intricate story of dysfunction in families and friendships, and of interconnected secretive webs of pretence and deceit that have tragic circumstances for the residents of a small Scottish village near Loch Ness. 

This book is beautifully written, full of powerful imagery and laced with foreboding that is almost palpable.  The bleak hopelessness that pervade the lives of some of the characters contrasts with the anger and resentment that fills the motivations and actions of others. The characters are realistic and complex, each with their own burdens and mysteries that they carry throughout the story as the threads of the main storyline weave themselves around them. 

The Audible narration of the book is expressive and perfectly suited to the story, being delivered in the author’s own Scottish voice. 

‘A Murder Of Crows’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find the book or audiobook on both Amazon or Kobo.

Book Review: ‘The Swan Princes: A Christmas Tail’ by Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

An excellent 21st Century retelling of an old tale.

This novella is a contemporary retelling of the classic Swan Lake story.

The well known story has been cleverly recreated in a contemporary setting and style, with a variety of great characters that have been developed very cleverly and with good attention to detail.  The best stories have characters that you love and others that you love to hate, and this book does not disappoint. 

It’s great to see this story being given new life in a way that is is well-written and very enjoyable. It blends mystery, fantasy, romance and magical realism quite seamlessly to deliver a story that is very engaging and delivers some strong lessons about family, loyalty, and the power of love. 

‘The Swan Princes’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Thorns‘ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another great read in an excellent paranormal series.

This seventh book in the Elemental Witch Trials series focuses on Rose, Brac’s daughter, take over as the main character, Brac still features prominently in the story, while Gwen and other family members continue to take supporting roles. Once again, the author achieves a natural and smooth progression that enriches the series without losing continuity or cutting off the stories of other family members.

Rose is a formidable character, not afraid to use both her physical and inner strengths to achieve her goals. She is complex and conflicted, which adds a very relatable layer of depth to her story.

As with every other instalment of this excellent series, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Thorns has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.