Book Review: Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology

A great collection for Holiday reading.

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The Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology is a wonderful family-friendly collection of holiday themed short stories that embrace diversity and explore a variety of ways in which different families and individuals celebrate Christmas.

Each of these stories and poems gives a different perspective that encourages the reader to consider a different point of view to their own, and provides an opportunity for reflection as well as entertainment. 

The stories in this book are written for readers of varying age groups, and so provide some lovely opportunities for family reading and sharing together. 

I very much enjoyed the two afternoons I spent reading these stories, and am pleased to award this book a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here

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

A highly recommended Christmas short story collection.

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 Replacement’ by Bianca Sierra-Luebke

A sci-fi novel that is well worth reading.

51tsXWRXbDLThis is a fascinating and enjoyable sci-fi read. The story is compelling and the characters are well-developed, becoming better understood by the reader over time as their histories and motivations are revealed.

The author uses both Angelica, the main character, and the Lymerian race and its interaction with humanity on earth to explore questions of identity, destiny and free will. There is a powerful divide between “then” and “now” developed in both levels of this story, created in Angelica’s story through the flashbacks in her dreams, and amongst the Lymerians in the almost wistful tone in which they speak of what used to be while clinging to the structures and rules of their society.

The world-building is quite neo-classical, yet enhanced by technologies and extraordinary abilities among the people that make Krisenica an original and complex place. The Lymerian social system and history add interest and a sense of mystery, while the main character’s struggle to reconcile her experiences and understand the events happening around her add emotional depth and ensure the reader’s loyalty toward her.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘The Replacement’ is well worth reading and will hold definite appeal to sci-fi readers who are looking for something new and original to read within their preferred genre. It has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Alterations’ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another great novel in Stanhope’s ‘Elemental Witch Trials’ series.

Lucretia Stanhope EWT 5‘Alterations’ is the fifth novel in the Elemental Witch Trials series by Lucretia Stanhope. It resumes Gwen’s story some time after the events of ‘Familiar Betrayal’, as she finds herself pursuing new and dangerous directions. There seems to be so much at stake for Gwen in this book – but perhaps that is an issue of scale, for every mother perceives that there are threats to her children that she must overcome in order to protect them, and all individuals understand that there are many people who would be willing to take us down and few who would truly defend us if it meant putting themselves in danger.

One of the qualities I really admire about Gwen is her refusal to be passive and just let things happen around her. She is not only a strong woman, she is confident in using her strengths to achieve her aims. She may not have everything in control, but she definitely strives to do what she can and to respond to situations with positive outcomes in mind.

I really enjoyed this book, and I’m also really glad to see that the author is determined to make this series varied and complex. This instalment is full of tension and twists, and I’m definitely keen to read more of this series.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘Alterations’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find ‘Alterations’ here.

If this series is new to you, click here to read my review of the first book in the series, Blessedly Bound.

 

 

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: ‘The Dragonheart Stories: Fairy Tales for Grownups’ by Jane Jago

A magnificent adults-only collection of dragon stories!

Jane Jago The Dragonheart StoriesOne of my favourite things to discover is a book that gives the reader a sense of the author’s own personality. The incidental humour and quirky characters in these stories are evidence of a creative mind brimming with ideas and unafraid to follow them wherever they lead.

The Dragonheart Stories Is a brilliant collection of short stories that are imaginative, sensual and highly original — and definitely not for children! Very conservative readers would probably not appreciate them either, although this reader considers that to be very much to their own loss. The stories are much like the nature of their dragon characters: magnificent, beautiful, rowdy, complex, and at times aggressive, but at the same time filled with insight. Each story is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The narration instils in the reader a sense of reverence for the dragons, but also considerable affection for the central characters.

Acorn Award I Golden

I really hope there are more of these stories to come. It is only fitting that this humble squirrel should pay these wonderful dragons tribute with a Golden Acorn.

Find your copy here.