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.

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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

Author Interview: Lyra Shanti

Interview Purple

Hi folks, welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview! Today we chat with Lyra Shanti,  author of the brilliant space epic series Shiva XIV and a number of other incredible works. 

Hi, Lyra. 

Hi, Squirrel.

I confess, I’m a little star-struck. 

Oh, you sweet thing!

Right, where was I? Ah yes. Here we go! What inspired you to write?

Where to start? So many things inspire me! Great films, books, plays/musicals, music, anime/manga, poetry, laughter, sex, love,  rain, moonlight, the ocean, tall ancient trees, mountains, lakes, and so much more!

Truthfully, everything affects me.  I’ve been writing poetry, plays, and songs since I was a child of seven, but I didn’t start seriously writing stories till I was in my late 30s. I always wanted to try novel writing, but was terrified I wouldn’t be good enough. Then, one day, I felt the urge to try. I stared at the blank white screen and suddenly envisioned an infant, held up at an altar by a priest. It was Shiva XIV I saw, but I didn’t know it yet. Slowly, the story came to me, and the rest is history.

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

I’ve read a few good ones, though I haven’t had a ton of time to read (spending most of my time writing and editing!) But I loved Sweet Vengeance by Aliya DalRae. Can’t wait to read book 2, Sweet Discovery! It’s such a fun, sexy paranormal series!

Oh, I’ve read those! They’re great!  What are you working on writing now?

Lyra Shanti Shiva XIV 4 The River Of Time

I just finished book 4 in my sci-fi series, Shiva XIV: The River of Time. Yay! I’ll be promoting that for a while, but my next book will be The Artist, a complete departure from sci-fi and fantasy.

It’s a story about a man named Apollo Antonius Vidali, an artist fighting his madness in search of true love. It will be a cross between historical romance and erotic freeform poetry! I can’t wait to get that done by next year. I think my fans will be totally surprised, and that’s exciting!

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

I have a strange aversion to whistling. Not so much when a person does it on key and it’s a song they know well… but when it’s meandering and slightly off key. I can’t explain why, I just hate it so much. I’ve yet to write that into a book… I may at some point. Maybe if I were to write a thriller or murder mystery. I could see a murderer whistling right after he’s killed someone. Terrifying!

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Lord of the Rings. All of them…The extended versions. Not even kidding! Lol

I would also repeatedly watch Close Encounters, Back to the Future (all 3), Titanic, The Wizard of Oz, The Muppet Movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course, the original Star Wars movies.

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

Basically what I am. 🙂 From the time I was 7, I wanted to be a songwriter… and playwright. I never envisioned myself as a novelist. That’s new, but feels right!

Sometimes you just have to run with what life brings you, eh?

Absolutely right!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Winter… especially in S Florida. There really aren’t weather changes here, like, at all… so winter is the only time it isn’t hot and humid. I love cooler weather! I love sweaters and snow and holidays!

Autumn is a close second. If I were living where I grew up (in Bellingham, Washington), there would be beautifully warm colors in the trees and a crisp, cool breeze in the air. It would be heaven! Plus, Halloween!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Growing up, I loved Alice in Wonderland. I think Lewis Carroll had a bigger influence on my already wacky brain than I realized. Then, Shakespeare plays made my heart and mind swoon! And of course, I loved Tolkien and J.K Rowling. But my biggest influence and inspiration would be Hermann Hesse. Books like Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Narcissus and Goldmund had a huge impact on me as a young adult, and as a writer. His stories were full of philosophical “East meets West” ideas, but also romantic relationships with flawed characters I deeply related to. I have to say, without his writing I would never have been a writer myself. His stuff was poetic and brilliant!

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

It’s hard work. A lot harder than some might realize… all the writing, editing, promoting, and worry over if anyone will like the story.

Ultimately, though, it’s worth all the pain. At the end of the day, I get to see my worlds born into a virtual reality where it will live on forever. And I can say I did it my way… like Sinatra. 😉

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Editing books! And a second thing? Hmm… Driving a car in the city. Driving itself doesn’t scare me, but other people in their cars do! They’re nuts!

Wait! Nuts are good!

Okay. I guess you could say they drive me crazy!  *makes Fozzie Bear face* Get it?! Wakka wakka!

Moving right along…

Ah, I see what you did there!

*laughter*

So tell us, where can readers find your books?

My books are all on my Amazon page and my website at www lyrashanti.com.  

Awesome! Where can readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for being here today, Lyra! You’re incredible! 

Awww, thanks! You’re pretty special too, Book Squirrel!

Book Review: Moon Breaker by Matthew Marchitto

Matthew Marchitto Moon Breaker

This is a highly interesting and exciting story that gives the reader plenty to think about.

In Moon Breaker, Marchitto delivers a gripping, brutal portrayal of a society breaking down from within through a tribal fantasy adventure story that explores what happens to a society when its people abandon the values that underpin it.

Moon Breaker raises significant ethical questions about how the value a society places on the wellbeing of the individual vs that of the collective, and the impact that value has on what is considered right and wrong.  The events and characters of the story challenge the reader to think about what happens when common understandings of truth and right are actually based on lies, as well as when those lies are confronted and exposed, and the consequences this can have for individuals.

This book is really well written. The central characters are complex and well-developed, while the necessary qualities of the secondary and minor characters are portrayed clearly and effectively in the light of the key ideas and message of the story.

Marchitto’s expression and imagery was creative and powerful, delivering his ideas in profound ways. My favourite line in the book is where Nala, in her grief, watches keepsakes possessions burn along with something more sacred and valuable. With the conviction that nothing mattered anymore, her observation is that “they all burned the same in her eyes.”
That line made me pause and think about how realistic that was as a portrayal of the effect of grief on an individual who has lost far more than “things”.

The story moved at a good pace and kept me intrigued from one phase to the next.  The ending is as profound as the discoveries made along the way by Nala, Koll and Kohn.

All in all, it’s a ripping good read that offers a fascinating study of human nature along the way.

It’s a solid five stars from me.

You can find Moon Breaker on Amazon.

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

‘Bittersweet’ by Aliya DalRae

Aliya DalRae Bittersweet
‘Bittersweet’ by Aliya DalRae is the story of Malcolm, the black cat who features in Sweet Vengeance and Sweet Discovery, the first two novels in the Jessica Sweet trilogy.

The Jessica Sweet paranormal/mystery/romance novels portray Malcolm as a dark, mysterious creature who keeps his secrets closely concealed. ‘Bittersweet’ shows much more of who he is – sensitive and loving, yet carrying a burden that nobody else can understand.

This is a powerful and moving story, even for readers who are not familiar with DalRae’s Jessica Sweet novels. It works equally well as a standalone story, a companion backstory to the novels, or a very effective appetizer as an introduction to the novels.

DalRae’s writing is highly expressive and yet still so comfortable that the reader is drawn right into the world of Fallen Cross.

This book can be easily read in an hour, so ‘Bittersweet’ would be a perfect lazy afternoon or end of day read.

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I’ve given this ADR novella five shiny stars.

‘Bittersweet’ is available on Amazon as an ebook or in paperback.
Alternatively, you can get it free via Instafreebie by signing up to Aliya DalRae’s mailing list.

Book Review: ‘Christmas Miracle in July’ and ‘Christmas Miracle on Valentine’s Day’ by R.M. Gauthier

I have decided to write one review for this pair of novellas because they fit so neatly together.
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 both 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 the sensation 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 are less thoroughly developed, as is completely normal for shorter stories. One does sense, though, that there are more stories to be told in Christmas Town, and that Bill, Christian and Hope may feature prominently in those, too. This reader certainly hopes so!
These novellas are a complete change of pace for R.M. Gauthier, who has featured on this blog as the author of the spicy mystery thriller, Control, and the related novellas ‘Longing’ and ‘Waiting’. The second full novel in the Landon Miller series, ‘Bound’, is due for release on May 1st.

All of Gauthier’s books are available on Amazon, and are free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

I’m giving these great stories 5 stars each. At $0.99, they are the bargains you don’t want to miss out on!
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