Book Review: ‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ by Catherine Cavendish

A beautifully dark novella.

Advertisements

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: ‘The Captain and The Ambassador’ by Carol Ann Kauffmann

A very satisfying and enjoyable read.

Carol Ann Kauffman The Captain and The Ambassador‘The Captain and The Ambassador’ is an enjoyable blend of science fiction adventure, space-travel and lighthearted romance, with some well-developed mystery and drama woven through the story, infusing it with greater depth and tension.

Regardless of the fact that the book is largely set beyond earth, Kauffman demonstrates the universal truths of human nature through her characters. It’s easy to see that a character in a book is putting other concerns ahead of those of the heart, but on reflection, the reader understands that this is very often the sort of limitation that an individual puts on oneself for one or more different reasons. It takes only a little empathy for the reader to want the heroes of the story to end up happy, but this also carries the reminder that it’s important for each individual, reader included, to choose the life that makes them happy, too.

Whether it’s because they have enjoyed them or because they haven’t, everyone understands the value and importance of acceptance, love, personal freedom and justice, and it is those qualities that make ‘The Captain and The Ambassador’ a satisfying and very enjoyable read.Acorn Award I Golden

I’ve awarded this great book a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Blackrock’ by S.K. Gregory

A very enjoyable YA magical realism novel.

S.K. Gregory BlackrockWhen Kasey moves to a new town with her family, she automatically assumes it’s going to be awful.
It’s a situation many of us can identify with, although we’ve probably never had it go quite so badly as it does for her. In this, the author cleverly makes the reader identify with Kasey, and by that time, they’re hooked on the mystery of what’s been going on in Blackrock.

The story is interesting and complex enough to keep the reader guessing right up to the last page. The characters are believable and vividly drawn, each with their own flaws and secrets, so that anyone really could be the troublemaker. It’s natural for the reader to distrust them, but in having them distrust one another, the author creates seeds of doubt that help to drive the story and give it depth.

Acorn Award II Silver

I found ‘Blackrock’ to be a very enjoyable read, and have awarded it a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Heart Of The Mountain’ by Jeanette O’Hagan

An interesting and compelling YA fantasy novella.

Jeanette OHagan Heart of the MountainThis is a really interesting and compelling story set in a community that lives underground, beneath a mountain. The central characters are likeable and positive, demonstrating loyalty and care in a society that has become too concerned with survival to worry about those things.

While the story is in one sense about the importance of physical light, there is also a deeper underlying moral sense that there is an even greater danger in moral and spiritual darkness.
Important messages about friendship and loyalty are delivered through Zadeki, Delvina and Reza, and those who open themselves to their influence.

Acorn Award II Silver

I enjoyed this book, which I read easily in about an hour, and I will happily read the sequel. ‘Heart Of The Mountain’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘January Black Ice’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

An excellent little mystery story.

Carol Ann Kauffman Cat Collier 1It is a skilful writer indeed who can captivate a reader, transport them to a new place and situation, introduce them to new people,, and then hold them there throughout the story. Carol Ann Kauffman is one such writer. Having been impressed by her writing style when reading her fantasy novella ‘Red Sarah’, which I enjoyed immensely, I was keen to pick up another of her works.

‘January Black Ice’ is a delightful, feel-good cozy mystery. The story is really well written. It flows easily, has great variation in pace and tone where it’s needed, and maintains a high level of engagement between the readers and the characters through tense and relaxed moments alike.

Kauffman writes lively, likeable characters whose stories intertwine in such a way that the reader thinks it’s going to be a romance until the mystery bursts onto the page in front of them, seamlessly turning the story in a new direction for local journalist Cat and for Carter, the mysterious new guy in town.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I’m pleased to see that there are more titles in the series. I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with Cat Collier. Acorn Award I Golden

This excellent little mystery has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Witch Moon’ by Kat Gracey

Plenty of action and intrigue!

Kat Gracey Witch MoonThis is no ordinary paranormal romance with a little mystery thrown in. It’s a story as conflicted as you can get, complicated by secrets, personal agendas, and age-old enmity. There is plenty of action and intrigue to keep the reader in suspense right until the end of the book.

Anna and Charlie are both likeable characters, and having the story told from their alternate points of view enables the reader to develop familiarity with the thoughts and feelings of both. Between them, they have flaws and complications enough, but their backgrounds certainly create nigh-impossible odds for the relationship between them. Even so, throughout the book, one finds oneself hoping that it works out for them, despite having little optimism that it can. The resolution of the story is powerful not only in the way the drama plays out, but also in the realisations that make Anna understand her situation.

The book is really well written, delivering the story with a narration that is energetic and well-paced, keeping the reader guessing and turning those pages to see what happens next.

Acorn Award I Golden

For all those reasons, this book has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Night’s Gift: Of Cats and Dragons Book 1’ by Camilla Ochlan and Carol E. Leever

A brilliant YA fantasy adventure!

Camilla Ochlan Carol Leever Night's GiftWhat a brilliant read! ‘Night’s Gift’ is a highly original and enormously entertaining fantasy adventure story.

The world building is rich in imagery and sensory detail, enabling vivid and lively visualisation as the story is read. The reader is led from one distinct setting to another, and yet another, each time developing a clear picture of the size, dimension and texture of buildings, streetscapes and scenery.

The central characters of Omen and Templar are both likeable, complex and somewhat rogueish hero figures, each with their own flaws but also possessing good qualities which others do not always recognise. My favourite though, is Tormy— it’s impossible to resist his bravery and loyalty, while his perception and encouragement both add additional dimensions to the way in which Omen and Templar fight against the evil that threatens to destroy them.

There is absolutely nothing to dislike about this book. It has all the elements of a compelling fantasy adventure— danger, challenges, deadly creatures, magic, deception, sword fights, and heroism— bound together with friendship and humour. It leaves the reader both satisfied and keen for the next phase of the story.Acorn Award I Golden

‘Night’s Gift’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.