Book Review: ‘A Little Favor’ by Erich Schubach

An enjoyable short read set in 1930s Germany.

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Erik Schubach A Little Favor
When Jillian agrees to do a little favour for a friend, things take a turn for the worst. Thus we see her drawn into a world that she never expected to be part of.

 

This is an enjoyable short story, easily read in less than an hour. Some of the 1930s slang – which would have been quite at home in an old black & white detective noir film – was a little mystifying, but the story was generally quite well told.

 

I liked the personal qualities that made Jillian stand out amongst pre-war stereotypes, and which she drew on in order to complete far greater errands than that initially entrusted to her.

Acorn Award II Silver

As an enjoyable short read, ‘A Little Favor’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

 

Readers can buy a copy of the book at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Sketches of a Black Cat: Story of a WWII Night Flying Pilot and Artist’ by Ron Miner

Fantastic WWII history in a personal story.

 

Ron Miner Sketches of a Black Cat

Ron Miner’s collection of stories and art by his father, combined with the story of his own experiences of gathering those accounts together, provides a rare opportunity for detailed insight into the experiences of an American serviceman during World War II. The stories are told in a conversational and personal way, so that the reader begins to feel connected to both narrators as their stories develop.

The artwork by Miner’s father is incredible, presenting an extraordinary level of detail. The book also offers a range of photographs of planes, servicemen, news clippings and personal letters pertaining to America’s involvement in the war. The images alone are worth the price of the book.

As a history teacher, I really appreciated the straightforward manner in which these stories are told, and the level of detail given about events which are generally only relayed factually in textbooks. I plan to share some of these stories and pictures from the book with my own students when we study WWII.

This is a fantastic book for anyone who enjoys reading biography, adventure and war stories and for history enthusiasts.Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded ‘Sketches of a Black Cat’ a Gold Acorn for overall excellence.

Readers can buy a copy at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Can’t Sit – Living With A Sitting Disability’ by Rick Lunkenheimer

This book is the story of Rick Lunkenheimer’s battle with chronic pain and the impact it has had on his life.

Rick Lunkenheimer Can't Sit

The author tells his story in a straightforward and knowledgeable way, explaining the conditions he suffers and the consequences they carry in a way that informs and educated the reader without asking for sympathy. As a reader who also suffers chronic pain conditions, this is really important to me: the goal of speaking about invisible illnesses must always be increased awareness among the audience, rather than making excuses or seeking pity.

The points made about social acceptance and understanding are relevant to all “invisible illnesses”. It’s great to have a book like this for people to read so that they gain a better understanding of other people’s lives and situations. This, in turn, will result in greater acceptance and less judgement of those who are so often misunderstood as a result of ignorance.

The book is well written and the author’s story is both personal and highly informative. The personal vulnerability that comes with recounting one’s own experiences so honestly is enormous, so I genuinely appreciate the honesty and bravery required to write this book.
Acorn Award I Golden

Because this book is well written, tells an inspiring story and offers good advice, it has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘So Much For Buckingham’ by Anne R. Allen

A well written, clever and very entertaining book.

Anne R Allen So Much For Buckingham
A wonderful blend of comedy, mystery and history, ‘So Much For Buckingham’ plunges the reader into the world of Camilla Randall, an author and bookshop owner who finds her world falling apart around her, bit by bit. Unable for various reasons to rely on those who usually support her, Camilla is overwhelmed by the awful things happening to her and those close to her.  Unwittingly caught up in other people’s murky behaviour, both Camilla and her best friend,Plantagenet, find themselves having to work out what on earth is going on in their lives with very little reliable information to help them.

 

The writing skill and intelligence of the author is demonstrated in the deftness with which the different strands of the story are spun and then woven together. I really enjoyed the fact that this book kept me guessing. The plot is definitely not predictable, and the central characters are both unique and likeable.  The humour with which ‘So Much For Buckingham’ is written is clever, varying between clever puns on names of people from the world of Shakespeare’s play ‘Richard III’, witty conversations, and deep irony in some of the plot developments.  One can read this book at any level of knowledge of things to do with King Richard III, or in complete ignorance of them, and still find the book amusing. The serious moments in the story give weight to the themes of character assassination and cyberbullying in a way which shows the extent of the consequences of such behaviour without devastating the reader.

 

Although this is part of a series, it works well as a standalone. I haven’t read the rest of the series – yet – but at no point did I feel as though there were things I really needed to know from the other books in order for this one to make more sense.

Acorn Award I Golden

In short, this is a well written, clever and very entertaining book. I’ve given it a Gold Acorn for excellence.

 

Get your copy at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Forest of Ancestors’ by K.A. Denver

Book Squirrel Review: ‘Forest of Ancestors’ by K.A. Denver

K.A. Denver Forest of Ancestors

 

This is a great story which holds a good level of mystery and intrigue that develops at a good pace as the plot progresses. The differences between light and dark magic, and the ways in which each character uses their magic, add interest and complexity to the story. The central characters are varied and quite well crafted although, as a reader, I didn’t really feel as connected to most of them as I would have liked to.

 

I really like the concept of the forest of ancestors as a place of memory as well as of magic, and the ways in which that setting is portrayed and developed in the story. The images were formed quite vividly in my mind as I read, and it was good to see the characters fully engaging with, and responding to, this special element of their environment in personal ways.

 

My one criticism – and it is a real annoyance as a reader – is that there were places in which the writing really needed more thorough editing to remove quite obvious errors that remain in the text. A less fastidious reader might not notice all of them, but a couple of them were quite glaring and should never have made it to the final manuscript.

 

Overall, though, I did enjoy this book. It has some quite original elements and surprising turns that complement the strong storyline.

 

Acorn Award II Silver
I’ve awarded ‘Forest of Ancestors’ a Silver Acorn because, despite its flaws, it is a great read.

 

Get your copy at Amazon.

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Author Interview: Eva Pasco

Author Interview: Book Squirrel chats with Eva Pasco, author of contemporary “lit with grit”.

Interview Cobalt

Book Squirrel chats with Eva Pasco, author of contemporary “lit with grit”.
Welcome, Eva! Eva Pasco - author

Book Squirrel, seeing you go nuts over authors, I’m in the right place. Thank you for the warm welcome!

It’s great to have you here. What inspired you to write?

Already having typewritten a mystery and a spy series by the age of twelve, and composed a romance novella in high school, I shelved my creativity during college and throughout my teaching career in elementary education. On my last day of school, I left a handwritten farewell note to my colleagues near the sign-in area of the main office. Many of the teachers let me know how much my note moved them. At least two told me I should write a book.
Inspired, I revived my dormant imagination. In 2007, I published my first novel in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction, based on my fragrance addiction—Underlying Notes. Several years later, in 2016, I published An Enlightening Quiche, where I incorporated aspects of my summer job at a bookbinding factory to the fictitious, impoverished mill in the story.

Wow! An author by twelve! That’s impressive!

I guess so!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

ScreenHunter_437 Feb. 03 11.37Always enamored with my latest published work, I’d have to say my favorite at this point in time is “Mr. Wizardo”. This novella is part of the co-authored collection of reimagined fairy tales for grownups, Once Upon a Fabulous Time, in collaboration with the Indie Fabs: Aliya DalRae, R.M. Gauthier, J.B. Richards, Lyra Shanti, and Joanne Van Leerdam.

Oh, I just got my copy of that! It looks fabulous indeed!

It really is!

I can’t wait to read it. What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Thus far, my steadfast answer is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. The effects of intense suffering between two passion-driven characters with a toxic love-hate relationship who torment themselves, each other, and those around them tug at my heartstrings.

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

Although the year has just begun, I will give a shout out to my current read. I’m 79 per cent through ‘Sandhills’ by Alan Vanderoot. It is a Contemporary Coming-of-Age that nails the protagonist’s teen angst living with a verbally and physically abusive father, and the outlet he finds to come into his own.
I also want to heap praise on the latest published paranormal short in the “Fallen Cross” pack, ‘Bitter Challenge’ by Aliya DalRae.

Oh, I’ve read ‘Bitter Challenge’! That’s a really great series. 

Isn’t it, though?

What are you working on writing now?

At the onset of 2018, I began writing my next Contemporary, Aida’s Fishing Ground. I’m currently in the midst of drafting chapter 2.

Who designs your book covers?

Now that I am going full-tilt boogie as an Indie—none of this hybrid stuff for me any longer—it’s Renee Gauthier, courtesy of her enterprise, R.M. Designs. Her covers and banners are fabulous!

Forest, country, beach or city?

It always has and always will be the beach!

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

One of my pet hates is that “exploitation” for monetary gain, power, or control whether perpetrated by usury, intimidation, pretense, lying, cheating, humiliation, preying…
As of yet, I haven’t brought it to light in my writing.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

My all-time favorite movie to watch over and over is Casablanca because it reinforces that there are no painless resolutions in life. The choices we make often come at a personal sacrifice of love and happiness.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

Hard to choose, but I’ll cite this one by Khalil Gibran—“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.”

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

No two Indies are the same, therefore there is no well-trodden path which leads a writer to becoming a successful author. Success is based on your own criteria and not anyone else’s.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

I wish it were easier to recover from heartbreak.
And, although, I have been blessed with good health thus far—I wish ageing were easier.

Those are sobering thoughts indeed – and you have expressed them beautifully.

Thank you. You’re a lovely squirrel.

Careful, you’ll make me blush! Tell me, Eva, where can we find your books?

They’re on Amazon and you can also get signed/personalized copies at Authors Den.

 

Where can readers follow you on social media?

I have a Facebook Page: where people are welcome to follow me, and I’m on Goodreads, too.
I also have a blog titled Eva’s Bytes – An Indie Author’s Blog on WordPress.

Thank you for being here today, Eva. 

It’s been fun! Thank you, Book Squirrel!

Book Review: ‘When Leaves Fall’ by C.A. King

A powerful and emotive short story that is well worth reading.

C.A. King When Leaves Fall
‘When Leaves Fall’ is an emotive and powerful story that will remain relevant as long as neglect and prejudice exist.

The author has cleverly crafted a story that positions the reader to empathise with Ralph and abhor the way in which he is treated long before all the facts of his situation are known.

This is a great short read that one can enjoy in less than an hour and still be left with something significant to ponder. It’s an ideal “busy person” or “busy day” read.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘When Leaves Fall’ has earned a Silver Acorn award.
Find it on Amazon.