Book Review: ‘Bad Candy’ by India Emerald

Bad Candy: fun for adults, not so good for kids.

Advertisements

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: ‘Pablo the Storytelling Bear’ by Penny Luker

This is a storybook every family needs to own and read.

Penny Luker PabloThis is an adorable children’s storybook about Bill and his friend Pablo, a toy polar bear who tells delightful bedtime stories. Rich in imagination and wonder, this book and the stories within it are engaging and heartwarming, delivering very positive messages about friendship, family and behaviour.

Bill is a nice kid who belongs to an average family. Rather than portraying him as an ideal child, the author has made him relatable to other kids: he has disappointments, fights with his sister, and has moments of selfishness. Overall, though, Bill is a good model for kids in the way these situations are resolved.

Pablo’s stories also present opportunities to discuss highly relevant global issues such as conservation, environment, climate change and animal welfare with children in sensitive and proactive ways.

As someone who loves books, polar bears and Canada, I appreciate the beautiful storytelling and the messages of the stories in this book.

Acorn Award I Golden

This book has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find 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.

Book Review: ‘Familiar Betrayal’ by Lucretia Stanhope

The fourth book in Stanhope’s Elemental Witch Trials series does not disappoint.

Lucretia Stanhope EWT 4The fourth book in Lucretia Stanhope’s Elemental With Trials series, ‘Familiar Betrayal’ takes Gwen and the reader deeper into the darkness, not only of magic and the use of power by various entities, but also of her own desire for vengeance and quest for justice.  Her need to resolve issues of the past before giving birth adds an urgency to the unfolding of the story, and means that Gwen is forced to ponder consequences that cannot be predicted, and to make decisions whose outcomes remain to be revealed.

There is much at stake for Gwen, but also for the realms that battle one another for supremacy. The tension in this book comes not only form waiting to see how Her personal circumstances work out, but also from Gwen’s questions about whether or not she can make any real difference, or if she is merely trading off one form of evil against another.

While some of the issues and problems of the past are resolved, Gwen finds herself confronted with new and significant challenges. Even when things seem to be going well, the reader is still aware of the tension that exists both within Gwen and in the worlds in which she lives. Her character continues to evolve with experience and knowledge, making her both admirable and a positive model in the reader’s eyes.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Stanhope has yet again ensured that the story is gripping and interesting as it progresses into each new phase.

Acorn Award II Silver
Familiar Betrayal has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

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.