Book Review: ‘Twelve Tales of Christmas’ by Jane Jago

A highly recommended Christmas short story collection.

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Jane Jago is a gifted writer who creates vivid and believable characters and drops them into situations that the reader finds engaging and relatable.  Many of these stories are laced with Jago’s trademark wit, while others are quite sobering.

‘Twelve Tales of Christmas’ delivers varied and excellent short stories, each set at Christmas time, each with its own theme and messages.

These well-written stories are entertaining and thoughtprovoking at the same time, long enough to fully engage the reader, and short enough to be enjoyed in snatched breaks in the very busy pre-Christmas season. 

This collection comes highly recommended, and has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy on Amazon

Book Review: ‘The Watery Kingdom’ by Raven M Williams

Enjoyable and fun, but a bit too quick in the telling.

51qy1YkUTDL‘The Watery Kingdom’ is a transformation of the story of The Little Mermaid.

As a reader who really appreciates short stories, I found this story to be quite enjoyable and fun, although perhaps a little too short. Because the style of the writing is quite succinct, and because the story is written in present tense, it feels at times as though the reader is being hurried through the story. The story and its characters would have benefited from a little more description and development, so that the reader had more time and opportunity to become fond of the heroes and learn to really despise the villain before the end of the story.

I really liked the character of James and his role in twisting the classic tales, but once again, this part of the story would benefit from some more depth and detail.Acorn Award III Bronze

‘The Watery Kingdom’ has been awarded a Bronze Acorn.

You can find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Tales From The Seaside’ by Claire Buss

A varied and enjoyable collection of short stories.

Claire Buss Tales from the SeasideExcursions to the beach. Excursions on a bus. Excursions of the imagination.
All complex. All expressive and thought-provoking.
Each one will take you somewhere different.

Some of these pieces are fictional, others are more observant reflections on the author’s own experiences. Readers will find them all quite relatable and realistic in their portrayal of the lives of ordinary people. Subtly embedded beneath the surface of many of these stories is a layer of quite incisive social commentary that turns the lens back on the society in which we live.The stories are long enough to explore an interesting idea, and short enough to fit comfortably into a break in a busy day or enrich an evening before bed.

Acorn Award II Silver

Enjoyable and refreshing in its variety and depth, ‘Tales From The Seaside’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Cut Of The Clothes’ by Erato

An interesting and entirely absorbing historical fiction novel.

Erato The Cut of the ClothesThis historical novel explores the friendship between ‘Prinny’ Prince George and Beau Brummel, the leading men of London fashion during the reign of George III. It is a turbulent story of the crests and troughs of the prince’s personal relationships and social fortunes, written from his point of view, providing very personal insight into the thoughts, feelings and inner conflicts of a man who was obligated to live his life in the public eye.

This novel is very well written. The writing is vivid and lively, effectively evoking the sights and sounds of London society and making almost tangible the sensations of fabrics, textures, and settings. The characters are complex and fascinating, although not necessarily likeable. The skill of the author is such that despite his flaws and selfishness, the reader is still strongly positioned to sympathise with the prince and to almost will him to overcome the adverse situations in which he finds himself.Acorn Award I Golden

This book is very interesting and entirely absorbing. I have awarded it a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy on Kobo, Nook or  Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Prince of Sorrows’ by D.K. Marley

A tragic story, very well told.

D.K. Marley Prince of SorrowsWhen one sets out to retell an old, world famous story, it is essential that both the plot and the characters are crafted well enough to keep the reader engaged when they already know what’s going to go wrong and how things are going to work out. This first first title in a ‘Fractured Shakespeare’ series by D.K. Marley does not disappoint in its new delivery of the ages-old story of Hamlet.

‘Prince of Sorrows’ is a novelised retelling of the story of Hamlet with a much less ‘Anglicised’ feeling about it than Shakespeare’s play. In fact, this story feels so authentic and well-developed, it actually seems as though it’s more like the original story from which Shakespeare might have drawn his plot and characters. The characters are complex and intricately drawn, and bear names that are definitely more Scandinavian than those used by Shakespeare, yet many are not entirely dissimilar. The story is just as dramatic as the play itself, capturing the intrigue of politics within the castle of Elsinore and the rollercoaster of Amleth’s thoughts and feelings as the tension increases and the story reaches its climax.

Even as a reader who knows Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ extremely well, I enjoyed this adaptation of the play to prose. It’s a tragic story, very well told.Acorn Award I Golden

‘Prince of Sorrows’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Feral’ by Lucretia Stanhope

‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.

Lucretia Stanhope PPK 2 FeralIn this sequel to ‘Tainted Waters’, Alice has moved into the next phase of her life as a Paranormal Peace Keeper. Although reconciled to her heritage, she still has many questions about who and what she really is, and where her value lies as both an individual and as part of the organisation to which she belongs.

Those questions continue to plague her as she undertakes her most challenging mission yet, with a new partner who poses problems of his own for our protagonist. who still struggles to come to terms with her lifelong issues with trust and belonging. As with the first book, Alice has to make choices where there is no good option, and then work to make those choices turn out for the best. This is one of the elements of these books that I really appreciate – life isn’t straightforward or easy for most people, and the turmoil that Alice experiences at times is something that I can really relate to.

Stanhope is a master of juxtaposing light and dark, and fear and trust, in a way that adds depth to both the characters and the plot as the story unfolds. As with ‘Tainted Waters’, ‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.
I found this to be an intriguing and enjoyable read – so much so that I didn’t want to put it down.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Feral’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in storytelling.

Find your copy here.