Book Review: Blessedly Bound by Lucretia Stanhope

Lucretia Stanhope Blessedly Bound

‘Blessedly Bound’ is so bewitching,I found it hard to put down.

The central character, Gwen, is an enigma of strength and vulnerability combined, which makes her easy to empathise with: surely, when we are being honest, that is how we perceive ourselves?

The reader is also tantalised by the fact that the reader doesn’t ever really know who the good guys are – the candidates for Gwen’s “hero” are compelling blends of good and bad, so that one is never really sure which way each of them will turn out.

While the pivotal storyline of the book is brought to a satisfying resolution, there is still plenty of mystery and intrigue left for sequels as questions, doubts, and fears remain.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I’ll definitely be reading the sequel.
I’ve given this great paranormal mystery read five stars.

Blessedly Bound and other books by the same author are available on Amazon.

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Book Review: ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ by Eric Tanafon

Every now and then, as a reader, I experience an incredible moment of revelation when I take in an expression or image of something that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.

No sooner had I started reading ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ than I had to stop and experience the moment. I had just read an extraordinarily beautiful sentence: “The forest clearing was a web of moonlight and shadows.”

What perfect imagery!  It is simple and direct, but powerfully evocative at the same time.

In that moment, I was there. I had been transported to that forest clearing and drawn into the world of the story, even before I knew anything else about it.

This is the magic a writer works when wielding the wand that is their pen.

Eric Tanafon Robin Hood Wolf's Head

Tanafon continues to cast these spells with magnificent imagery throughout this book. As tales are told and the various storylines develop, the author provides the reader with a feast of sensory morsels that both satisfy and delight the reader.

At times, such images can be consumed at speed. Others, like this one, demand more thoughtful digestion to fully appreciate the skill in Tanafon’s craft:

“The autumn day had dawned softly, with light mists gathered around the sun like a veil. In the late morning the forest was still sweet and moist, haunted by the ghosts of decaying leaves.”

As a writer, I lost count of the times I read a sentence or two and thought to myself, “I wish I had written that!”

Tanafon’s genius in reinventing the story of Robin Hood as a paranormal adventure is equally as enchanting as his writing. The stories of Robin Hood, his band of followers and of their enemies are interwoven, not as a braid but as a rich tapestry. Thus the old stories are retold, stripping back the gloss of legend and hero worship and offering the reader a far more thought-provoking and deeply engaging retelling of the famous tales.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s not just a fantastic read: this is literature absolutely worthy of the top shelf.

Available on Amazon.

Author Interview: Micayla Lally

 

Interview Purple

Welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview!
Today I’m speaking with Micayla Lally, author of ‘A Work of Art’. 

Welcome, Micayla! 

Hi, Book Squirrel! Lovely to meet you!

What inspired you to write?

I have always been a writer – grabbing spare dot-matrix computer paper from the box to write stories during recess in elementary school. But I finally got serious for NaNoWriMo 2015 and have completed 5 novels since then, including publishing my debut in May this year.

Cover A Work Of Art

 

So ‘A Work of Art’ is the first one published? 

Yes.

 

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I tend to like each recent story better than the last, perhaps because I have learned more since writing the last one. Right now I’m editing something to send to an agent and I really love the ending, so it would have to be that one. It’s called ‘Flirting With Disaster’.

 

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

There are too many to name! But my recent favourite is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, and then a list of Stephen King books that would go on forever,

 

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

*consults Goodreads*  I’ve read a bunch of fantastic books this year, but recent highlights are Girl In Between by Anna Daniels and The Radleys by Matt Haig.

 

What are you working on writing now?

My work in progress doesn’t have a title save for the character’s names – Sebastian and Isolde. It’s a story about finding love in the midst of emotional chaos. He’s a player who has to grow up and she’s returned to work after pregnancy loss and depression.

 

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Our vacations tend to be a bit fraught since we have 3 energetic boys and stuff just happens, you know? Our most recent vacation was to Scotland where our luggage was lost by the airline for 5 days, but luckily I had our clothes in the carry-on because we were renewing our vows at Gretna Green!

 

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

I’m starting to feel old and crotchety so I do have some pet hates, but it seems to be small personal things that other people do. I am writing them into a character that I have a feeling will teach the other main character a lesson about love and patience, but it’s still an idea at this stage.

 

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, but probably anything with Keanu Reeves.

 

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

A housewife, a teacher, a secretary, a writer. I’ve been lucky enough to do all of those things.

 

What’s your favourite season? Why?

To be honest, I love them all and love that I can experience them all in Oregon, USA, the seasons are so full here, though this summer and been super hot and it seemed to drag on forever. Autumn might by my least fave because of all the pumpkin spice stuff everywhere, but on the other hand – sweaters!

 

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Making time for everything and eating as much as I want.

 

Are you willing to give us a teaser about your book?

When Julene returns from a whirlwind trip overseas discovering art and professional passions, she quickly learns the love she shared with her ex Samson never quite waned — but can she trust him again?

 

Oooh! Intrigue! 

You bet!

 

Don’t trust him, Julene! Don’t do it! 

I’m not sure that helped, Squirrel…

 

She can’t say I didn’t try. 

That’s true.

 

Where can we get a copy of ‘A Work Of Art’?

Readers can order my book in most local bookstores, but it’s also available online at:

Book Depository 

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble 

 

Where can readers stalk… I mean, follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Readers can also check out my website at www.micaylalally.net

 

Thanks for joining me today, Micayla! 

Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!

 

Book Review: ‘Leger – Cat Sleuth’ by Lacie Dearie

‘Leger – Cat Sleuth’ is a delightful short story in which a cat takes on the role of detective to solve a mystery that unfolds very close to his home.

It’s written with good humor and clever characterization of the protagonist and his animal friends, feline and otherwise, who help him find the pieces of the puzzle and find the culprit he seeks. 
Suitable for any reader from young adult upwards, this story is a short read but contains enough charm and interest to engage a reader and entertain their imagination.

‘Leger – Cat Sleuth’ and others in the series are available on Amazon.

Book Review: The Undernet by J.S. Frankel

‘The Undernet’ by J. S. Frankel brings new definition to the age-old contest between good and evil, and between truth and deceit as a young man seeks answers that seem determined to remain hidden.

Jesse Frankel The Undernet

Frankel has crafted realistic, likeable and engaging central characters in Milt and his girlfriend, Robbie.  They’re not perfect, and their mistakes have consequences, which makes them easier to empathise with and understand. Insights into Milt’s thoughts and gut reactions, and his feelings about Robbie, draw the reader into the often very confronting story of his quest for justice and truth.

Part of Frankel’s genius in casting this story is designing characters who live and work in the shadows, so that the reader has to keep questioning whether they are the good guys or the bad guys. There are so many layers of intrigue and concealment in this story that the reader is kept curious and wanting to know, much like Milt throughout this story, seeing the truth despite layers of concealment and misinformation. In this sense, the Undernet and the Dark Net take on the roles of additional impersonal characters that deliberately obscure reality in this story, just as they seem to in actual fact.

Some parts of The Undernet are definitely uncomfortable to read. In graphic contrast to the sincere and honest friendship Milt has with Robbie and with his best friend, Simon, Frankel gives his readers a solidly-written exposè of the dark side of human nature as one is likely to find it on the dark side of the internet – or anywhere. This is delivered with confronting realism and honesty. Through all of this, It was the strong identification I felt with with Milt’s “ordinary person” response to the ugly side of life that enabled me to keep reading and hoping for him to find the resolution he was so desperate to find.

The Undernet is available on Amazon or from devinedestinies.com

Book Review: Longing by R.M. Gauthier

Literature Lemur LeafThe Literature Lemur has been reading some great books lately! Today, our lovely lemur friend brings us a review of ‘Longing’ by R.M. Gauthier, who has been featured in Book Squirrel reviews and an author spotlight previously. 

Blurb:

Longing is the story of a Special Forces Officer and a Business Tycoon becoming unlikely partners in their fight for justice and revenge. Leroy, a Special Forces Officer, returns home from Afghanistan after serving 8 terrifying years, only to discover that his nightmare has not ended. After learning that his sister has been missing for months, Leroy sets out to find and bring her home. Meeting Landon Miller, a Business Tycoon and owner of an exclusive club exposes Leroy to a world of corruption that he had no idea even existed.

 Renee Gauthier Longing

ADR S&S Book Review:

Longing is a prequel to The Mystery of Landon Miller series, in which Gauthier gives us a peek at how everyone’s favorite Guy Friday ended up with the job of a lifetime: working for Landon Miller, himself.

In this short story, Leroy leaves the desolation of war only to find more misery waiting for him at home. His sister is missing, and Leroy will move heaven and earth to bring her home again. Along the way, Leroy discovers there is a whole lot of evil out there, and the deeper he digs, the dirtier it gets.

Once again, Gauthier has created a story where anything can and does happen, bringing life and soul to characters who we, as readers, feel connected to. Whether or not you’ve read “Control” and “Bound”, “Longing” is one short story you won’t want to miss.

You can find all things R.M. Gauthier at:    www.RMGauthier.com

Order “Longing” here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0180FSU1W

Book Review: Sweet Discovery by Aliya DalRae

Having thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Vengeance, the first book in Aliya DalRae‘s Jessica Sweet mysteries, and Bittersweet, the back story of Malcom, I was keen to read Sweet Discovery.

Aliya DalRae Sweet Discovery

Not until I started reading did I realise how ironic the title is – many more questions than discoveries were arising in the most fascinating and heart-stopping ways. Absolutely, 110% intrigued, I had to keep on reading to find the answers to my own questions and theories, as well as Jessica’s.

This book is a fast-paced roller coaster of emotions, complete with loop-the-loops and tilt-a-whirls of mystery, secrets, horror, and intense personal conflicts for a number of key characters.

It’s a mark of a great writer that a story can take you on the journey not just of the main characters and the key plot, but also of the other characters through sub-plots that weave seamlessly with the main story. Characters I disliked intensely in the first book became more likeable not only through the development of their personality and actions, but also through gaining a greater understanding of their motivations and histories. Other characters that I quite liked in the first book underwent an almost opposite kind of transition. Once again, DalRae reminds us through this fabulous book that no matter how confident we might be that we’re right about people or situations, or even that we know something for sure, things aren’t always what they seem.

If you’re looking for delicious paranormal mystery adventure laced with more than a dash of hot sauce and romance, look no further. DalRae’s Jessica Sweet mysteries are the books for you.

Now, I’m waiting with bated breath for the next in the series. I’m definitely hungry for the next course.

Aliya DalRae’s Jessica Sweet mysteries are all available on Amazon.

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