This is no ordinary paranormal romance with a little mystery thrown in. It’s a story as conflicted as you can get, complicated by secrets, personal agendas, and age-old enmity. There is plenty of action and intrigue to keep the reader in suspense right until the end of the book.
Anna and Charlie are both likeable characters, and having the story told from their alternate points of view enables the reader to develop familiarity with the thoughts and feelings of both. Between them, they have flaws and complications enough, but their backgrounds certainly create nigh-impossible odds for the relationship between them. Even so, throughout the book, one finds oneself hoping that it works out for them, despite having little optimism that it can. The resolution of the story is powerful not only in the way the drama plays out, but also in the realisations that make Anna understand her situation.
The book is really well written, delivering the story with a narration that is energetic and well-paced, keeping the reader guessing and turning those pages to see what happens next.
For all those reasons, this book has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
‘The Slaughter Sisters’ is a gaslamp novella set in the same world as the author’s Helena Brandywine mystery series. The Slaughter Sisters are Faith, Grace and Charity, monster hunters extraordinaire.
The writing is lively and vivid, which engages the reader and enhances the dynamic characters. There is diversity and variety in the characters, some of whom are more complex than others. Each with their own strengths and flaws, the main characters are both highly individual and very complementary of each other as a group. One thing I really appreciated while reading is the way in which the author showed a character who had been perceived as a hindrance to be an asset, initiating new awareness and appreciation among the others. In this, the author subtly and cleverly teaches the reader a lesson about their own willingness to be positioned by the opinions of others and to allow that to influence our own acceptance and tolerance.
The plot is interesting, balancing the well-developed mystery and some sombre moments with some lighter moments of humour and irony.
I very much enjoyed this story. It works well as a standalone, but it also makes me keen to read the rest of the author’s books set in this world. ‘The Slaughter Sisters’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
A novella series that mystery lovers will not want to miss out on!
This series of mystery novellas by R.M Gauthier is lighthearted and refreshing, although not without complications and moments of tension.
Each of these short stories provides a lovely diversion from a busy day or week by drawing the reader into the fictional world of Christmas Town, where the spirit of the festive season lingers all year round. Each is short enough to read in one sitting, but long enough to conveniently put down at the end of a chapter and resume reading later. They’re great stories for all year round, and certainly not limited to the seasons in which the titular seasons occur.
The main character, Jack, is well developed and quite likeable. The air of mystery that surrounds his arrival in town over summer is intriguing, and definitely hooks the reader into the story. Gauthier cleverly plays on the unresolved questions he brings with him, drawing the reader further into the story at the same time as further entangling Jack with every development and surprise in the plot.
Charlotte is an intriguing character – she appears to be open and easily read, but there is always an understanding that there’s much more to her than meets the eye. As Jack is surprised to discover, she’s just the person to keep him guessing and on his toes.
Other characters enjoy more development as the series progresses, so the reader also has opportunities to see more of Bill, Christian and Hope as they appear in the successive stories.
These novellas are a change of pace for R.M. Gauthier, who has also been featured on this blog as the author of the more psychological mystery thriller series featuring Landon Miller.
All of Gauthier’s books are available on Amazon, and are free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
The Christmas Miracle Series is available in a boxed set, or as individual titles.
This is definitely a Gold Acorn series that mystery lovers will not want to miss out on!
A well-written and complex psychological thriller.
‘The Summer of My Enlightenment’ is , on one level, the story of Angela and her search for meaning and fulfilment after a tragic event, but it’s also an interesting study of the nature of obsession, infatuation and narcissism and the danger that exists when they interact.
There is so much I could say about my anger toward particular characters, and my desire to see them suffer some consequences for their actions, but I don’t want to give any spoilers. Be prepared, though, for some strong emotional responses as the story unfolds. And if mind games and manipulation are trigger points for you, it’s probably best to choose a different book.
A well-written and complex psychological thriller, this book certainly kept me guessing. There was suspense and frustration aplenty, and there were numerous surprises and twists along the way. Both of the central characters are flawed and conflicted, which often makes a reader sympathetic to one or both of them, which others very well may be; however, I found it hard to warm to either of them. This certainly added an extra layer of “chiller to the thriller” for me, but also added to my frustration because there was a large degree of dramatic irony involved in my reading of the story.
I have awarded this book a Silver Acorn because it ticked all the “dark fiction” and “suspense” boxes, but left this reader somewhat dissatisfied at the end.
The 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.
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.
Pratima’s Engines is a short steampunk story of conflicted interests and opposing priorities set in post-Collapse India. It is an interesting and enjoyable story, although I would have liked to see the mystery and tension developed more before the story reached its climax.
The central character, Armeena, is very likeable and easily gains the reader’s sympathy as she discovers uncomfortable truths about her own situation. She provides a positive role model not only in her resilience, but also in her loyalty to her friends.
Pratima’s Engines provided a pleasant and relaxing diversion in an otherwise busy day, and is well worth a read. I have awarded it a Silver Acorn.
‘Holiday Gone Wrong is a short read with elements of mystery and intrigue, but also some lovely comic moments, all of which make the reader want to know more of Zelda and her story. The author does a great job of balancing all of those elements without giving away the storylines of the other books in which Zelda features.
This short read is enriched by vivid, detailed descriptions of the exotic locations which really transported me to those places and brought the story to life. The author has cleverly conveyed both the beauty of the places and the joy of experiencing them, which definitely enhances the reader’s enjoyment of the story.
‘Holiday Gone Wrong’ works perfectly well as a stand-alone, but also serves as a great introduction and/or companion to Alderson’s mystery novels which also feature Zelda Richardson.
This very enjoyable short read has been awarded a Silver Acorn.