Plenty of action and intrigue!
This 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.
For all those reasons, this book has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
A brilliant YA fantasy adventure!
What 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.
‘Night’s Gift’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
A fun read for MY and YA readers.
‘The Trouble With Antlers’ is the first in A.J. Culey’s Shifter High series. The premise and storyline of the book are fun: what happens when humans move to a town populated entirely by shifters? It makes for an entertaining read, enriched with situational comedy and a good number of lighthearted moments to balance those full of teen angst and embarrassment.
While the series is written for a young adult audience, this book proved to be both enjoyable and interesting for this adult reader. While it may not have the depth and heart-in-your-throat moments that something like Harry Potter has, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: a reader doesn’t always have the energy or the desire to have their heart broken seven times or more in each sitting.
If you’re looking for a light read that is fun and engaging, this is a great choice. As such, it has been awarded a Silver Acorn.
Find the series here.
A poignant, powerful story.
This story is not long but it sure packs a punch. It is powerfully emotive, not only in the writing but also in its messages about caring for those we love and maintaining our relationships with family beyond what is merely convenient or, worse still, shallow tokenism.
‘Saving Cecilia’ is the story of Cee Cee and her grandmother, Cecilia, and the love between them that endures despite the ravages of grief, time and Cecilia’s dementia.
I found that I could identify strongly with Cee Cee, having cared for my own mother during her own battle with that soulless disease, and having experienced many of the same anxieties and sorrows that Cee Cee did. Her character was very honestly and thoughtfully developed, particularly through her relationship with Cecilia and her thoughts and responses to the events and other characters of the story.
This is a story that everyone from mid-teens and older should read, because at some time in our life, most people will know a Cecilia or a Cee Cee if they are blessed enough to not actually become them.
‘Saving Cecilia’ Has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
A varied and enjoyable collection of short stories.
Excursions 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.
Enjoyable and refreshing in its variety and depth, ‘Tales From The Seaside’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.
Find your copy here.
An interesting and entirely absorbing historical fiction novel.
This 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.
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.
A really well crafted short story.
This 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.
‘When Shadows Dance’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Get your copy here.