Book Review: ‘The Awakening’ by A. Drew

A really great macabre mystery!

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Part mystery, part macabre horror and part paranormal suspense, ‘The Awakening’ is a very good read.

The story is interesting and complex, cast with believable characters who face their biggest challenge ever while just trying to get through life from day to day. 

The central character is a regular teenage guy named Phil, who faces his own questions of identity and belonging by trying to fit in with the “in crowd”, as so many teens do. This sets off a disturbing chain of events that intrigue the reader and draw them deeper into Phil’s life as the story unfolds. 

This is the prequel to The Dowling House, but works perfectly well as a standalone book.

It’s a really good read. I have awarded ‘The Awakening’ a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.  

Review: ‘A Murder of Crows’ by Ian Skewis

An excellent mystery that keeps the reader guessing right to the very end.

As a reader, I really love a mystery that is well-crafted and keeps the reader guessing right to the very end. ‘A Murder Of Crows’ is one such book, and I find myself unable to recommend it highly enough. 

Delusion and illusion obscure truth and reality in this suspenseful, intricate story of dysfunction in families and friendships, and of interconnected secretive webs of pretence and deceit that have tragic circumstances for the residents of a small Scottish village near Loch Ness. 

This book is beautifully written, full of powerful imagery and laced with foreboding that is almost palpable.  The bleak hopelessness that pervade the lives of some of the characters contrasts with the anger and resentment that fills the motivations and actions of others. The characters are realistic and complex, each with their own burdens and mysteries that they carry throughout the story as the threads of the main storyline weave themselves around them. 

The Audible narration of the book is expressive and perfectly suited to the story, being delivered in the author’s own Scottish voice. 

‘A Murder Of Crows’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find the book or audiobook on both Amazon or Kobo.

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

A really enjoyable sci-fi epic.

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: ‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ by Catherine Cavendish

A beautifully dark novella.

Catherine Cavendish Miss Abigails Room‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ is a Victorian Gothic mystery suspense story embellished with some gloriously macabre moments. The author builds the suspense steadily, creating tension that is almost palpable by the end of the book. The reader’s suspicions grow alongside those of Becky, the main character, but the ending of the book still comes with a surprising twist that, in keeping with the conventions of gothic horror, leaves the reader both shocked and satisfied.

I really enjoyed the way in which the author depicted life both “upstairs” and “downstairs” in the house, and the ways in which the different threads of the story were woven together to create one complex, elegantly constructed story.

To craft a story that is reminiscent of Poe, Dickens and Downton Abbey at the same time is quite an achievement.Acorn Award I Golden

Well worth reading, this beautifully dark novella has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘When Shadows Dance’

A really well crafted short story.

2018-08-09 18.32.03.pngThis is a beautifully written, well balanced story full of contrasts: light and shadow, age and youth, mishap and design. It has some almost Gothic elements and a finely tuned sense of foreboding that builds as the story unfolds, with a few neat little twists along the way, that are nicely balanced by its poignant and wistful moments.

It’s quite a short read at 18 pages, but one that proved to be a delightful diversion in a busy day.Acorn Award I Golden

‘When Shadows Dance’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Summer Of My Enlightenment’ by Kristy Dark

A well-written and complex psychological thriller.

51pGX1V5G5L‘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.Acorn Award II Silver

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.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Witch’s Touch’ by Rosie Wylor-Owen

A deliciously dark short story read.

Rosie Wylor-Owen The Witchs TouchThe Witch’s Touch is a delightfully dark story about justice being delivered in the most satisfying way.

The narration of the story is fluent and masterful, giving the reader rich insights into the characters and their actions. The characters are developed with considerable detail given the length of the story, and the reader is captivated by the story that unfolds. The story itself is quite unique and has some brilliant twists in it to keep the reader guessing.

Acorn Award I Golden
It’s a short read that took me a little under half an hour, so it’s perfect as a quick escape from a busy day. ‘The Witch’s Touch’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.