Book Review: ‘Feral’ by Lucretia Stanhope

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

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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: ‘The Royal Tournament’ by Richard H. Stephens

A well-written medieval-style fantasy adventure.

Richard H Stephens The Royal TournamentAn exciting medieval-styled fantasy adventure, ‘The Royal Tournament’ is the story of Javen, a youth who represents his local area in the King’s Tournament. It’s a great story full of action and excitement, but it also carries weighty themes of family, loyalty, friendship, and tolerance that give the reader reasons to think and reflect.

‘The Royal Tournament’ is a great read for older children and young adults, and provides plenty of fodder for valuable discussions either as a family or in a classroom.

Acorn Award II Silver
I really enjoyed this well-written short read, and have awarded it a Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Galatine’s Curse’ by T.J. Green

‘Galatine’s Curse’ delivers plenty of adventure, fun, and heroic action .

T.J. Green Galatine's CurseIt is a fine author indeed who can craft complex and varied worlds and realms, and interweave them seamlessly with the stuff of time-honoured legends so that the reader feels as though this is where those legends must have always taken place. The Other is one such world – connected to ours by portals, vast and incredibly varied and complex. Green has proven her finesse in world building, and in the crafting of unique and interesting races as its inhabitants.

‘Galatine’s Curse’ is the third in T.J. Green’s YA Arthurian sword and sorcery fantasy series. Once again, Green takes the reader on a journey through The Other with Tom, Beansprout, Woodsmoke, Arthur and Merlin, where they encounter new challenges and a variety of new characters that bring dangers of their own.

Tom in particular faces bigger, darker threats than previously, providing plenty of heart-in-the-throat moments and tension that drives the story toward its conclusion.

This book delivers plenty of adventure, fun, and heroic action and reminds the reader not only of the importance of friendship and loyalty, but also that there are some challenges and tasks that one has to face and undertake for oneself. Like the best YA novels, it’s a ripping read with plenty of depth and complexity to engage teens and adults alike.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Galatine’s Curse’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn award.

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.

‘Nerra’s Run: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Run is the second of three short story prequels to Dragonhaze.

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 2
The sequel to ‘Nerra’s Flight’, this second instalment in the Draginhall Chronicles short story series is set some years later. Children with magical abilities are still being captured and killed, and the authorities are still pursuing Nerra.

‘Nerra’s Run’ is darker and more suspenseful than the first. The author establishes a strong sense of foreboding that continues to build as the story develops. Older and still determined to defy those who want her captured and killed, Nerra remains a character whose bravery and determination are admirable, and with whom the reader can sympathise strongly. She is developed with additional depth in this story in ways which both increase the reader’s affection and support for her, and fill them with anxiety for her future.

The action in this short story moves at a steady pace, carrying the reader along as the tension rises.

Once again, Mirren Hogan has excelled in her storytelling craft.

Acorn Award II Silver
This beautifully written story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Flight: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Flight is the first of three short story prequels to Dragonhaze.

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 1Nerra’s filght introduces Nerra, a young adult magin, living in a world in which even the ability to use magic is punishable by death.

The first of Nerra’s stories, ‘Nerra’s Flight’ tells of her attempt to escape those who would punish her for her abilities. Dragons, suspense and adventure await!

The story is engaging and interesting, and the reader quickly warms to both Nerra and her sister. It’s a brief but enchanting introduction to this series of stories, of which I am definitely keen to read more.

Acorn Award II Silver
This beautifully written story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.