Book Review: ‘Souls Asunder’ by Miranda Brock

Miranda Brock TKW 2 Souls Asunder

It is a skilful writer who develops the characters in such a way that the reader visualises them in all their different expressions, holds their breath in moments of suspense, and only realises they were doing so when they let that breath go.

Miranda Brock is one such writer.

The sequel to Souls Discovered, this is the second in Miranda Brock’s The Keeper’s Way series for young adults and older. Brock has crafted another exciting and deeply involving story in which The Keeper, Autumn, and her Searchers confront the terrible powers of evil in their efforts to rid the world of those very powers. There is plenty of action to keep the story going, and there are a number of absolutely gut-wrenching moments that keep the reader absolutely enthralled.

Just as Autumn and her Searchers know each other better and have a stronger connection in the second book, the reader also feel a stronger bond with the central characters because they, too, know them better now. I didn’t even realise how much I had invested emotionally in this book until I finished it.

After reading Book 1, I knew better than to expect a predictable ending in the sequel, and Souls Asunder does not disappoint. I’m so keen for Book 3 and dead keen to know what happens next.

Miranda Brock has definitely cemented her place in my shortlist of “one click authors” whose books I will buy in a heartbeat.miranda-brock-souls-discovered

Golden Acorns
Because Book Squirrel was giving  star ratings rather than Acorn Awards when he reviewed Book One, both books in The Keeper’s Way series are receiving a shiny Gold Acorn today.

The Keeper’s Way series is available on Amazon.

 

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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.

Author Interview: Heather Dawn

Interview Orange

Welcome once again to Book Squirrel’s latest ‘Nuts about Authors’ interview.  Today I sat down with Heather Dawn to discuss life as a writer and her novel, Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies.

Heather Dawn Imbroglio

Hi Heather, thanks for being here and chatting with me. 
Hi, Book Squirrel. Thanks for having me!

What inspired you to write?

Pain inspired me to write, plain and simple. I needed to get out of my circumstances into someone else’s, and thank God it worked!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I penned an essay in college entitled, Dear Little Girl, which was an assignment to write a letter of advice to myself as a child. Despite the intense joy of publishing a novel that’s getting five-star reviews, the timeless words in this essay resonate with me the most, allowing me to walk down memory lane and relish the nostalgia of my youth, grow from the mistakes, and ultimately, appreciate who I’ve become as an adult. I never would’ve thought such a simple assignment would be so invaluable to me.

What are you working on writing now?

Between my tasks as an elementary school mom and an independent entertainment production events contractor, I’m sneaking in the sequel to my debut novel.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My best vacation was a nine day trip to Italy, exploring more than eight beautiful cities and stretches of breathtaking countryside from Rome to Lake Como with a wonderful group of ladies, our own tour “mother,”  a private tour bus, delightful hotels, and food that made me hurt myself trying to devour it all!

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

My pet hate is deception––lying and hiding in relationships. Yes, I absolutely built that despicable behavior and its consequences into my writing. That is what Imbroglio, the Ties of Love and Lies is all about! An intense storyline of drama, action and suspense where a woman’s omission (intended to maintain the interest of one surprisingly debonair, irresistible and likewise mysterious man) collides with his secrets, and the two are led on a volatile, even dangerous, journey for truth, forgiveness, and love which neither of them could have fathomed. I think it would just be lovely for every reader of Imbroglio to recognize the fears that entice us to lie and consider the lamentations of Carlos and Shannon when facing such temptation! Perhaps my genre would evolve to “romantic suspense fiction with a lesson.” Hmmm…

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I can watch The Incredibles over and over and over. And over. There is something about the dynamics of their relationships. No perfection among super heroes there!

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

I wanted to be a veterinarian. With all my heart. And then I saw what happens when animals get worms and diseases. I said, “No thank you.”

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Beverly Cleary began my passion for reading with her character, Ramona (as in the pest.)
Ernest Gaines wrung the tears from my eyes with his masterful and deservedly highly-praised novel, A Lesson Before Dying. I admired his ability to write about a subject so heartbreaking and yet keep readers engaged to the end.
Stephen King paints a story so dexterously. I remember the idiosyncrasies of his characters being so vivid in my mind, loving the way he drew me into a tale, and feeling terrified to read on.

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

It will challenge your fortitude. Unlike when there is a publisher behind you, there is no one to convince the world that you (the self-published artist) have talent except you. Keep pressing onward!

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

1) I wish erasing the painful emotional scars imparted by others and restoring hope to the lost was easier. 2) I wish it was easier to say what needs to be said.

Those can be tough challenges indeed!   
Where can we get your book?

Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies is on Amazon.

Heather Dawn Imbroglio Author Pic

Fantastic! And where can we follow you on social media? 

Oh! That’s easy!

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

Book Review: ‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ by S L Tsao

SL Tsao The Early Delivery
People often speak of guardian angels and of visitations or visions, but the idea of angel postmen delivering messages to humans at appointed times is clever and thought-provoking, and one I had not encountered before. I found this concept, and the personalities of the different characters very engaging.

This is a heartwarming story with the tales of the antics of Clair, a lazy angel, embedded and woven within it. It is written with humour and a light-hearted tone, but also with some vivid imagery and quite evocative writing that added depth and impact to the writing, particularly in the cliffside conversations between the young woman and the elderly man who functions as the storyteller.

It seems to me that although English may not be the author’s first language, Tsao has certainly written with both fluency and flair. While there are times when the words do seem to flow less easily and the grammar is a little stilted, this does not necessarily detract from the story, nor did it significantly diminish my enjoyment of it. Every writer has their own style, and in our globalised world, readers can generally adjust accordingly with ease.

Overall, ‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ is an enjoyable book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading lighthearted clean romance and humour. I’ve given it one of my lovely Silver Acorn awards.

Get your copy on Amazon today!

Book Review: Calmer Girls

Jennifer Kelland Perry Calmer Girls
‘Calmer Girls’ doesn’t fall into my usual preferred genre, but that didn’t stop me enjoying this book. I was engaged from the start when it opened with a scenario that was instantly familiar to me: teen sisters fighting and competing with one another. As the younger sister in my own family, I could relate to Samantha’s frustrations and sensitivities, even though my sister and I competed and fought over different things than Samantha and Veronica do. The complications and conflicts between Samantha and Veronica are portrayed very realistically, and the reader is drawn into developing a strong sense of empathy for their general situation, as well as for the circumstances of particular characters.

I love that this book is set in Newfoundland and that part of the story relates to the experiences of the families of the fishermen who live there. The author has embedded plenty of details that really do evoke the unique character of St Johns and life in the Canadian Maritimes, so the setting felt very familiar and homey to me because I have visited the Maritimes and have friends there.

I really liked  the frequent references to the classic books such as ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ that Samantha likes to read because they gave me a stronger connection to this story. They weren’t overbearing or super nerdy, yet they communicated clearly that Samantha sees life and thinks at a deeper level than her sister. That positioned me to like her even more than the fact that she is the central character.

I found the characters to be believable and quite well-developed, and the story compelling.

‘Calmer Girls’ will hold immense appeal for anyone who enjoys YA romance and drama.

Silver Acorns
I’ve given ‘Calmer Girls’ a silver acorn.
You can get your copy at Amazon. There’s a sequel, too!