Book Review: ‘Starblazer: Through The Black Gate’ by Reiter

A really enjoyable sci-fi epic.

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Reiter Starblazer
‘Starblazer’ is a genuine sci-fi epic, action packed and loaded with conflict, power struggle and suspense. The world building is incredible, immersing the reader in a realm that is both fantastic and believable at the same time. The writing is clean and the story is coherent and really well developed.

The real strength, though, lies in the characters. Their flaws balance their abilities and strengths in a way that makes them believable and still complex enough to remain unpredictable. The subversive humour that emerges in certain characters is refreshing and very engaging.

In contrast to the stereotypes of science fiction, which I acknowledge as the main reason I read less of it that I otherwise might, I really liked the fact that the female characters are central to this story, They are intelligent, self-sufficient and powerful in their own right.

This is a big book, but it’s a real page-turner with an entertaining story and lots of action and energy.Acorn Award I Golden

Starblazer has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Bea & Bee’ by Sylva Fae

A bea-utiful book for young children and family reading.

Sylva Fae Bea and BeeIn an era where bees are endangered and many children seem not to take time away from screens of one type or another to enjoy the pleasures of a garden, this book is a breath of fresh air.

The concept of the story seems simple – a little girl longs for a puppy and finds an unusual alternative – but there is an underlying message of hope and acceptance in this story that is very positive and encouraging for children. It is a very good thing to open our children’s minds to things that are out of the ordinary, and to teach them that even among friends who are very different, we can have surprising similarities.

The illustrations are cheerful, colourful and varied so that the book remains engaging for younger readers throughout the story.

This story also comes with helpful information about how to provide for bees in the garden and avoiding some of the things that might be harmful to them.

This would be a delightful book for families to read together, or for more independent reading as children get a little older. It would also be a valuable addition to school and town libraries.Acorn Award I Golden

‘Bea & Bee’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

New Releases: October 2018

Check out these great new release books!

There are several new releases out this week that you should know about – so that you can buy them and read them! Some of these great books also have a particular appeal for the spooky season which is now officially upon us!

The Westwood Witches by Sarah Northwood. YA fantasy/sword & sorcery.

Sarah Northwood The Westwood WitchesAero trembled as she held the box sealed inside black paper. The dilemma was a difficult one – her mum had told her the box contained secrets she might not be ready for. Once she opened it, there would be no going back.
Aero has always felt like a misfit and an outsider. Thankfully, having a best friend like Lilly, along with a grandma like Joanna, makes life worth living. But a terrible event tears her world apart, and Aero Westwood is about to discover that her family has more secrets than most.

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Siren’s Lullaby by Erin Lee. Mythology/folk tales/fantasy.

Erin Lee Sirens Lullaby

Three women are left stranded on a small Island near Sicily, Italy, to starve, but they won’t give up easily. Joining together to fight to survive, they make a deal with a demon of the sea.
Three pirates–brothers–who haven’t agreed on much since their mother died get back together for a long journey. They long to rid themselves of the curse placed on them by a sea witch.
An insatiable hunger felt by the seductress sirens and the deadly pirates will join them together in more ways than they could ever have thought.

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Cirque De Slay by CeeCee James.  Cozy mystery.

Cee Cee James Cirque de SlayConcello Circus is crowded with unforgettable characters- trapeze artists, sword swallowers, clowns, not to mention the famed Ringmaster. Working at the circus is exactly what Trixie expected. What she didn’t expect is to find a dead body…with a dark apparition rising up from it.
Claudette Barbarosa, the beautiful bearded lady and rumored girlfriend of the Ringmaster, has been murdered and suspects are everywhere.
Trixie is desperate to catch the killer before she is caught herself. Even more, she wants an explanation for what she saw the spooky, rainy night that Claudette died.
Were her eyes lying to her…or was everyone else lying?

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Curious Times by Joanne Van Leerdam. Macabre/horror/dark humour.

Curious Times eBookFriday, the magical black cat with a devilish sense of justice, returns in a second collection of macabre and darkly humorous stories. Set at significant times of the year, these stories celebrate key events while Friday delivers his own brand of feline justice to people who fully deserve what’s coming to them.
If you have ever wished for revenge, or taken pleasure in seeing horrible people get their just desserts, this book is for you.

 

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Love You To Death by S.K. Gregory. Horror.

SK Gregory Chills 5 Love You To Death

Ravenna has lost the love of her life, but she isn’t about to let death come between them. As a powerful witch, she can raise him from the dead, but what will it cost her?

This is the fifth title in the author’s ‘ A Chills and Thrills Tale’ series of short reads.

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Onyx a by Nikki Landis. Dark paranormal romance. 

Nikki Landis OnyxDerek is obsessed with Harleigh Quinlan.
It doesn’t help that he’s been assigned as her guardian, a job he never guessed would bring him face to face with his darkest enemy. Haunted by a tragic and brutal past and forced to confront his own demons, Derek must find a way to protect the woman who’s become his entire world and seek answers to the nightmares that plague his nights. As vengeance burns within his veins, will Derek become consumed by the flames?
This is not fan fiction – it is a totally unique and original story.

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Andorra by Greg Alldredge. Steampunk/gaslamp.

Greg Alldredge AndorraFly for freedom.
Helena always thought of Europe as the romantic continent, full of history and mystery waiting to be explored. What she finds breaks her heart, deforested, and smoke choked.
The Russians haunt the Legend’s every move. Will she ever escape their influence?
The old countries are arming with new deadly steam-powered weapons. Will humans survive to see the 20th century?
Will Helena want to live in the next century if it arrives safely?

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What Lies Beyond the Shadows: a 2018 Halloween Anthology. Horror/ghost stories.

Anthology What Lies Beyond The Shadows
This collection of horror stories, published by Wild Dreams Publishing, is due for release on October 4th.

Don’t forget, folks, if you read and enjoy a book, leaving a short review really helps that book be seen by more people. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as mine – just one sentence will do the trick!

Book Review: ’50 Habits of Highly Successful Authors’ by Jo Lajko

A helpful and practical guide to achieving success as an author.

Jo Lajko 50 Habits

In this helpful volume, Jo Lajko shares his experience and insights in the world of book marketing.
His advice is practical and easily understood, and provides a wealth of insight and understanding for authors who need to know how to produce the best book they can, and how to market that book when it’s published.

Lajko offers advice for authors who choose to pursue traditional publishing as well as for those who choose the Independent route. He consistently encourages them, whichever path they pursue, to write well, to ensure that the editing is excellent, and that the marketing is focused, and offers very helpful hints and tips that help each writer to achieve those things.

Lajko’s overall message is that authors need to create the whole package, of which their book is only one part. He gives step-by-step instructions about how an individual writer can develop their platform and audience so that their book is produced, received and promoted consistently well.

One of the points that Lajko makes very strongly is the importance of gratitude. This really resonates with me as an Indie author, because I have seen for myself the difference it makes to be part of an author community that is supportive, encouraging, and thankful. I have been inspired by those who are thankful enough for their own success that they will mentor and encourage those who are just starting out, and I have benefited from their expertise and wealth of knowledge.

Jo Lajko is generous and enthusiastic in sharing his expertise and knowledge in ’50 Habits’. As an author, I am very thankful that he has done so.  Acorn Award I Golden

This book has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Slaughter Sisters’ by Greg Alldredge

Love Gaslamp stories? Read this.

2018-08-08 21.38.17‘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.

Acorn Award I GoldenI 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.

Get your copy here.

New Release: A Poet’s Curse

A new collection of dark poetry that delivers justice in its most poetic form.

A Poets Curse eBook 6x9People often say, “Never annoy a writer. She will put you in a book and kill you.”
These poems don’t kill anyone, but they leave the reader in no doubt whatsoever of  the poet’s feelings.

Uncomfortable truths, observations about life, and unashamedly honest responses to hateful people make this collection of poems highly relatable and deeply, darkly satisfying.

They say there is a special place in hell reserved for those who prey on others.
Until then, there is A Poet’s Curse.

Book Review: ‘The Blue Serpent’ by Claire Buss

This is a little gem of a book that is well worth reading.

Claire Buss The Blue SerpentHaving recently read and loved ‘The Book Thief’, I was keen to read this brand new collection of flash stories by Claire Buss. They are very different than her excellent novel, but they are great stories nonetheless.

Each story is a brief vignette of a life, a mind, a heart, a soul. Some of them are lighthearted and entertaining, others are much more sobering. I found ‘Possibility’ to be very poignant, while ‘Once Upon a Time’ turned out to be a very powerful commentary on our society that was further developed in ‘Data Stream’.

I appreciated each of these stories for its own qualities, and for the way it made me think about things other than the demands and worries of a busy day. I enjoy reading short stories when life is hectic, and this book has filled bill perfectly.  Acorn Award II Silver

This is a little gem of a book that is well worth reading, and as such, it has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.