Book Review: ‘Father Winter’ by Eric Tanafon

This Yule story is fantastic in both senses of the word. In ‘Father Winter’, Eric Tanafon takes the reader on a magical journey to the Great White North in which ancient mysteries and secrets of life are revealed.

Eric Tanafon Father Winter

I chose this book because I enjoyed Tanafon’s ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ so much. I was delighted to discover another gem that I could treasure. Once again, I found the author’s writing is so expressive and evocative that the story played like a film in my mind as I was reading, especially the northern night scenes.

The characters are beautifully crafted and seem to spring to life off the page. Connor is a troubled teen and Holly his younger sister who just wants Connor to be on Father Winter’s “good” list. Through their respective journeys, they encounter a variety of people and creatures who help them to discover and achieve what they need to, each in their own different way.

Golden Acorns

I can’t recommend this book highly enough for any day of the year, but especially for December reading.
I’ve given it a delicious Gold Acorn.

‘Father Winter’ is available on Amazon.
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Book Review: ‘100 Wild Mushrooms’ by Eva Pasco

Eva Pasco 100 Wild Mushrooms

‘100 Wild Mushrooms’ presents readers with one hundred chapters of nostalgia and memoir from the 1960s. Food, music, TV shows, comic books, toys, fashion, crazes, world events, celebrities and recollections of personal experience combine to form a most enjoyable trip down memory lane.

I really enjoyed the diversity and range of the topics in this book. Not content to merely entertain me, these memories carried me away to a different time where life seemed much more straightforward than it often seems to be today.

Written with good humour and warmth, This is a delightful collection that will appeal to a wide audience, especially those who were there but may not always remember much!

In Eva Pasco’s own words, “simply remembering a few of our favourite things meandering along Memory Lane is a trip worth taking.”

Golden Acorns
I’ve given this book a lovely Golden Acorn Award.

‘100 Wild Mushrooms’ is available on Amazon.

Author Interview: Claire Buss

Interview Orange

Welcome to another interview in the “Nuts About Authors” series. Today we welcome Claire Buss, Indie author extraordinaire and a generally very nice person!
Welcome, Claire! 

Thanks, Book Squirrel!

What inspired you to write?

I am inspired by all kinds of things – the different people I meet, books I read, random ideas I have at 4am in the morning. What I find difficult is carving out the time to actually write so most of my ideas get jotted onto scraps of paper which are carefully saved in a box for later perusal. Oftentimes it will be the character voice in my head that shouts the loudest! I do prefer to immerse myself in one project at a time.

Claire Buss The Rose Thief

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m about to have a baby! But until very recently, I have been in the final stages of getting my latest book, The Rose Thief, ready for publication. I’ve worked through all my beta reader feedback and I’ve done the scariest part – the final read through before setting up for ebook and paperback. I am really excited about this book, it was so much fun to write. Someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses and it’s up to Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher and his team to find out who the thief is and stop them before love is lost forever in Roshaven. Think Terry Pratchett meets Douglas Adams.

And that’s just been released, right? 

Yes! Last week!

How exciting!

It is, rather.

Congratulations! It’s on my TBR pile as we speak. 

Oh, thank you! How big is your TBR pile?

It’s nuts. 

*laughter*

What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are a few actually – The Princess Bride, LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies, Constantine and 28 Days (not the Zombie movie!)

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Lois Lane.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It’s a full-time job being an Indie author and that’s not just the writing aspect. You are, for the most part, your own editor, proof-reader and marketer. Most indie authors already have a day job so it’s really about being dedicated to something you love and couldn’t imagine not doing. The marketing side is constant, you have to work on it every day and keep momentum – there’s an awful lot of authors out there but the good news is that people still love reading so all you have to do is get out there and find yours.

Two things in life I wish were easier.

1 – eating cake and not putting on weight

2 – learning how to not feel guilty for either not writing or doing the housework or spending time with my family

I’m with you! Those would be great things to make easier. 

*high fives for cake*

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I’ve had a few 5 star reads so far this year but I think the series that I am enjoying the most is Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series. I’m on book four now and they’ve all been brilliant. I love all the subtle – and not so subtle – literary references and admire the huge amount of world-building that must have gone into writing the series.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Autumn. It’s not too hot like the summer and you can wear a cardi with practically every outfit. There’s that lovely crispness in the mornings and still a few summery days to enjoy, leaves to crunch and lots of apple-based desserts. Springtime can be a bit wet although all that new growth is lovely. Winter can be too dark as well as bone-numbingly cold, at least Autumn is golden.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

This is tricky because I haven’t read all the books yet but based on the small amount I have been able to devour I would have to say the top of the pile would be Sir Terry Pratchett for his Discworld series, his sense of humour and great intellect. As cliche as it may sound, I do admire JK Rowling’s persistence with Harry Potter and whilst I am well aware that her kind of success is unlikely to happen for me, it is motivating to know that you should never give up. I think my other literary inspiration is every indie author out there who is giving 100%, writing quality books and supporting others in the indie world.

Indie authors are amazing.

You’re right!

Some of the best books I’ve read have been Indie books!

Right again!

*another high five*

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My best vacation memories are those spent on my grandparents’ farm in Wales. Animals, fresh air, the Welsh coastline, homegrown produce and freshly baked cakes, an open fire and lots of love.

Where can we find your books, Claire?

You can find my books on Amazon.

 

And where can we follow you on social media?

My social media links are as follows:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/busswriter

twitter: www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407

website: www.cbvisions.weebly.com 

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16197976.Claire_Buss

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/grasshopper2407/

Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWrKBeiBMQg_subFM9ot2vw

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ClaireBuss2407

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Grasshopper2407

 

Thanks for chatting with me today, Claire.

Thanks for being such an awesome squirrel!

And remember, folks: support an Indie author today!

And eat cake!

Yes! Eat cake!

Book Review: ‘A Meadow in Saanich: Not Quite a Ghost Story’ by Valerie Albermarle

Valerie Albermarle A Meadown In Saanich

This beautifully written short story transports the reader to a place where history and the present cling and ghosts are said to linger in the mist. In a beautiful west Canadian setting, Albermarle teases the reader’s imagination into suspending doubt and disbelief aas they follow Kaiya on a mysterious adventure. The author successfully evokes feelings of nostalgia and affection for times gone by and delivers the story as though the events within it are not unusual at all.

Silver Acorns

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Meadow in Saanich’, so I’ve given it a lovely Silver Acorn.

You can find this book and others by Valerie Albermarle at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Fractured’ by Nikki Landis

Nikki Landis Fractured

A short companion story to Landis’ The Fight For Light series, this is a powerul and deeply moving story. In one sense it might be interpreted as a love story, but it is far more than that – it is a tale of sacrifice, resistance and hope against hope that one day, the darkness might not always win.

In this, I found ‘Fractured’ to be a profound story to which I could relate in a very personal way.

Much of my own poetry is an expression of that same hope: that the demons and the darkness might be overcome. It’s an age-old story, but Nikki Landis has crafted it in an original and compelling way. Her characters are complex and flawed, and her exploration of how fascinating evil can be is incredibly perceptive.

Although it belongs to a series, this book works well as a standalone story. Prior to reading ‘Fractured’, I had not read any of the full novels in the series to which this story is a companion, but I now plan to do exactly that.

Silver AcornsThis is an excellent read that can be completed in one day if desired, or enjoyed over a longer period without losing track of the story.

Nikki Landis The Fight For Light SeriesI’m giving it a lovely Silver Acorn!

Fractured and all of Nikki Landis’ books are available on Amazon.

Author Interview: Heather Dawn

Interview Orange

Welcome once again to Book Squirrel’s latest ‘Nuts about Authors’ interview.  Today I sat down with Heather Dawn to discuss life as a writer and her novel, Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies.

Heather Dawn Imbroglio

Hi Heather, thanks for being here and chatting with me. 
Hi, Book Squirrel. Thanks for having me!

What inspired you to write?

Pain inspired me to write, plain and simple. I needed to get out of my circumstances into someone else’s, and thank God it worked!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I penned an essay in college entitled, Dear Little Girl, which was an assignment to write a letter of advice to myself as a child. Despite the intense joy of publishing a novel that’s getting five-star reviews, the timeless words in this essay resonate with me the most, allowing me to walk down memory lane and relish the nostalgia of my youth, grow from the mistakes, and ultimately, appreciate who I’ve become as an adult. I never would’ve thought such a simple assignment would be so invaluable to me.

What are you working on writing now?

Between my tasks as an elementary school mom and an independent entertainment production events contractor, I’m sneaking in the sequel to my debut novel.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My best vacation was a nine day trip to Italy, exploring more than eight beautiful cities and stretches of breathtaking countryside from Rome to Lake Como with a wonderful group of ladies, our own tour “mother,”  a private tour bus, delightful hotels, and food that made me hurt myself trying to devour it all!

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

My pet hate is deception––lying and hiding in relationships. Yes, I absolutely built that despicable behavior and its consequences into my writing. That is what Imbroglio, the Ties of Love and Lies is all about! An intense storyline of drama, action and suspense where a woman’s omission (intended to maintain the interest of one surprisingly debonair, irresistible and likewise mysterious man) collides with his secrets, and the two are led on a volatile, even dangerous, journey for truth, forgiveness, and love which neither of them could have fathomed. I think it would just be lovely for every reader of Imbroglio to recognize the fears that entice us to lie and consider the lamentations of Carlos and Shannon when facing such temptation! Perhaps my genre would evolve to “romantic suspense fiction with a lesson.” Hmmm…

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I can watch The Incredibles over and over and over. And over. There is something about the dynamics of their relationships. No perfection among super heroes there!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a veterinarian. With all my heart. And then I saw what happens when animals get worms and diseases. I said, “No thank you.”

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Beverly Cleary began my passion for reading with her character, Ramona (as in the pest.)
Ernest Gaines wrung the tears from my eyes with his masterful and deservedly highly-praised novel, A Lesson Before Dying. I admired his ability to write about a subject so heartbreaking and yet keep readers engaged to the end.
Stephen King paints a story so dexterously. I remember the idiosyncrasies of his characters being so vivid in my mind, loving the way he drew me into a tale, and feeling terrified to read on.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It will challenge your fortitude. Unlike when there is a publisher behind you, there is no one to convince the world that you (the self-published artist) have talent except you. Keep pressing onward!

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

1) I wish erasing the painful emotional scars imparted by others and restoring hope to the lost was easier. 2) I wish it was easier to say what needs to be said.

Those can be tough challenges indeed!   
Where can we get your book?

Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies is on Amazon.

Heather Dawn Imbroglio Author Pic

Fantastic! And where can we follow you on social media? 

Oh! That’s easy!

Book Squirrel Review: Christmas Miracle at Easter by R.M. Gauthier

Renee Gauthier Christmas Miracle Easter

The third instalment in R.M. Gauthier’s Christmas Miracle series, this story is a little shorter than the others but still full of the same tension, humour and characters.

Gauthier is a great writer and a master of finishing a story with a sledgehammer that leaves you wanting to read on and keen for the next story.

I really enjoyed this book, and I really hope there will be another. Christmas Miracle on Canada Day, perhaps? Now there’s a holiday this squirrel can get behind!

Golden Acorns

‘Christmas Miracle at Easter’ gets a shiny Golden Acorn!

Get your copy at Amazon!

And if you haven’t read the others – they’re great, too!

SIBA First Miracle