Book Review: ‘Return of the Sleeping Warriors’ by Petra Costa

A brilliant Australian YA #urbanfantasy read.

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Petra Costa Return of the Sleeping Warriors 1The first book in the ‘When Magic Awakes’ series, this book starts by dropping the reader right into a situation of tension and mystery that continues to grow and develop further as the story progresses. One by one, the questions are layered and woven together so that before long, the reader realises that this book simply demands to be read.

Michael and Dana appear to be typical teenagers living in suburban Melbourne. Sport and school consume most of their time, but there’s something else going on that intrigues both the central characters and the reader. Their family seems quite normal and their dislike of the nasty neighbours seems completely natural.

There is, however, much more to both sides of the equation than meets the eye.

As the action of the story progresses, the reader becomes very familiar with both Michael and Dana, their family members, and the flaws and strengths of each. The reader is very much inclined to cheer Michael and Dana on as they confront a set of circumstances that they never expected to meet in suburban Melbourne.

I really enjoyed the typical Australian flavour of the settings in the story and also in the writing. I find that, too often, Australian authors feel they need to sacrifice their ow surroundings and way of speaking in deference to the power of American popular culture. The author has, in this book, not only retained those qualities but also incorporated them as part of the strengths of the settings, characters and story.Acorn Award I Golden

I found this to be an excellent and interesting book, with plenty of action and excitement to engage YA readers and older, so I have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

I have also added Petra Costa to my list of “one-click” authors, whose books I shall buy without hesitation.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Lineage: The Memory Of The Sphinx’ by C H Clepitt

If you enjoy subversive dark humour, don’t overlook this series of short reads.

CH Clepitt Lineage The Memory of the SphinxThe third of C.H. Clepitt’s paranormal short stories in the Lineage series, this is another entertaining short read.

Clepitt continues to develop the quirky characters introduced in the first two stories, and adds another level of complexity by both providing a new development in the story and intertwining it with both John’s and Charlotte’s separate backstories.

This story is told with the author’s trademark cynical humour, which adds a delightful layer of snark to an otherwise dark story.

If you enjoy subversive dark humour, don’t overlook this series of short reads.Acorn Award II Silver

I did want it to be longer, and I wanted more resolution to the minor parts of this story, so I have awarded ‘Lineage: The Memory Of The Sphinx’ a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Recruit’ by M.M. Cox

The Recruit is an interesting and refreshing change from witches and vampires.

M.M. Cox The Recruit‘The Recruit’ introduces the reader to Cassie, a teen who thinks her biggest problems are not getting along with her mother and not wanting a boyfriend when everyone else seems to. When Cassie is confronted by bigger problems that she hasn’t even realised existed in her life, she is launched on a journey of discovery that the reader follows with avid interest.

This story is really well written. The characters and dialogue are believable, and the story is packed with action, complications and heart-in-your-throat moments that make it hard to put down. Teen and YA readers will relate quite easily to Cassie, Kristen and Landon, and there’s certainly enough complexity and depth in the story to keep older readers engaged, too.

‘The Recruit’ tells a great story, but it also raises some really interesting and thought-provoking questions about the nature of evil, and the balance of good and evil in the world we live in. Readers are challenged to think beyond what they can see and reminded that appearances can be very deceiving.

As a reader who enjoys a variety of paranormal stories, I found this book to be an interesting and refreshing change from witches and vampires.Acorn Award I Golden

‘The Recruit’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.
Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Ether’ by J.S. Frankel

If I could give ‘Ether’ six stars, I would.

Jesse Frankel EtherWhat an absolutely brilliant read!

Frankel is a master of inventive stories that surprise and enthral the reader. This book has all the ingredients of a page-turner – mystery, danger, teen angst, an unlikely romance, thugs, and surprise twists – and they’re bundled into a highly unique storyline that hooks the reader in and keeps them hostage until the story is done.

The characters are all crafted with expertise. Sam is a regular guy with flaws, hopes, and struggles that readers will definitely relate to. His responses to the unpredictable turns that his life takes reinforce the reader’s respect for him. Esther is refreshing and very individual, and presents a very strong female character who does far more than merely complementing Sam’s character. Her leadership and initiative are driving forces in the story, which no doubt would have ended very differently without her.

Acorn Award I Golden

‘Ether’ is one of those books that will leave you wondering what on earth you’re going to read next that might possibly compete with the incredible ride you’ve just had. It is most deserving of a Gold Acorn.

Grab your copy today on Kobo, Amazon or Devine Destinies.

Book Review: ‘Through the Lichgate’ by Kyle Adams

A highly original and entertaining YA read.

Kyle Adams Through the LichgateFar more interesting than an attack of mindless zombies, far more complicated than teen angst of not fitting in, and highly unique in its storyline and character development, ‘Through the Lichgate’ is an absolutely ripping read.

Adams has developed a really interesting premise and storyline in this first ‘Drama Club’ book. The reader is quickly drawn in by Thana’s singular perspective on life, and is absolutely hooked by the complication with which she is presented. She is complex and conflicted, which makes her highly relatable for teen readers, and older readers too, since we rarely actually lose our complexities or resolve all our conflicts as we age – we just get better at either disguising or dealing with them.

Thana is a strong female lead who will fight her own battles and stand up for what she believes is right in a world which doesn’t always agree with her standards or her choices. When she is faced with not just one almost impossible dilemma, but a whole series of them, the reader cannot help but hold their breath and cheer her on as the action unfolds.

I’m definitely keen to read more books in this series.
Acorn Award I Golden

I’ve awarded ‘Through the Lichgate’ a Gold Acorn for excellence and originality.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Unlikeliest Candidate’ by J. S. Frankel

An absolutely ripping read for NA and grownups.

Jesse Frankel The Unlikeliest CandidateHarry Cannell’s life is going to hell in a handcart – fast. He’s a regular guy with regular problems that start piling up until one extraordinary event changes everything for him.

It’s great to find a brilliant story that revolves around a character who is actually so ordinary and who struggles to make sense of exactly how he arrived at the point in life where he finds himself as the book opens. This makes him relatable to the reader, and positions them to feel sympathy for the misery he experiences.

This story is a unique blend of mystery, sci-fi, comedy, romance and adventure all in one. It’s a great escape into the realm of ‘What if?’ that tempts the reader to wonder and hope that there might actually be something more, some unrealised possibilities that we simply overlook as we pursue life as we know it.

There is some physical intimacy in this book, so it’s suitable for New Adult audiences and up, rather than YA.

‘The Unlikeliest Candidate’ is an absolutely ripping read from start to finish.
Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded it a Gold Acorn for brilliant storytelling and great writing.

Find your copy at Amazon.

Dec 12 ~ Featured Book: ‘Penny White and the Temptation of Dragons’ by Chrys Cymri

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 12 is ‘The Temptation of Dragons’ by Chrys Cymri. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 12 is ‘The Temptation of Dragons’ by Chrys Cymri. 

Bishop Nigel smiled at me. ‘Holy water doesn’t harm vampires. Which is just as well, as it would make it impossible to baptise them.’

Chrys Cymri Penny White and the Temptation of DragonsWhen I was asked by a dragon to give him the last rites, I never dreamed it would lead to negotiating with his cannibalistic family or running from snail sharks. Life as the priest of a small English village is quite tame in comparison. At least I have Morey, a gryphon with sarcasm management issues, to help me. And if all else fails, there’s always red wine and single malt whisky.

As if my life weren’t complicated enough, a darkly beautiful dragon named Raven keeps appearing where I least expect him, I’ve met a handsome police inspector who loves science fiction as much as I do, and my younger brother is getting into trouble for trying to pick up vampires.

That’s what happens when you’re dealing with an incredible and dangerous parallel world full of mythical creatures. And I have to learn to navigate it all without losing myself, or my brother…

‘The Temptation of Dragons’ is available at Amazon.