Book Review: ‘Thoughts of You’ by Anthony Beddis

An expressive collection of honest, passionate flash prose. .. but it’s not poetry.

2018-03-11 13.54.55This collection of honest, passionate flash prose is rich in imagery and high expression of the author’s love and desire for the object of his affections. The writing is quite poetic, taking the reader deep into the thoughts and emotions of the author as he expresses his innermost thoughts and feelings.


I was bemused, however, to see this book listed as poetry. It is definitely intimate and expressive, but it is also definitely prose as it is written in the form of full sentences, in paragraphs, arranged as such. Use of imagery, regardless of frequency or consistency, does not in itself define one’s writing as poetry.


The reader does develop a profound sense of intimacy with the author, sharing as one does in his most personal and honest moments with his beloved. His thoughts and feelings are highly relatable and his absolute honesty is disarming.


This is an enjoyable book that fulfils the purpose revealed in the title: these are the thoughts that fill the author’s mind and soul each day, demonstrating his adoration of, and also his commitment to, the lucky person who consumes him so powerfully. Acorn Award III Bronze


Book Squirrel has awarded this book a Bronze Acorn because while the writing really is lovely and I did enjoy it, it’s not actually poetry and should not be marketed as such.



Book Review: ‘Tainted Waters’ by Lucretia Stanhope

This is a fantastic read that keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.

It is often said that light drives out darkness and that loves drives away fear. Such proverbs may be mostly true most of the time, but not without exception.

Lucretia Stanhope PPK 1Tainted Waters

‘Tainted Waters’ is a book full of such exceptions. It is a story of shadows and illusions, doubts and deceptions, and of clouded thoughts and emotions. In her youth, Alice desires security, truth and a sense of belonging, but enjoys none of these. Trusting nobody and belonging nowhere, her world is one where, time and time again, she has to choose the least terrible option and learn to make the best of it.

Stanhope has woven a tale in which conflict, distrust and obscured truths come into sharp contrast as the powers of light and darkness battle with one another for supremacy. As Alice discovers who and what she is, and how to make use of the resources available to her, the reader sees those same contrasts in her character: naïveté and inherited knowledge, vulnerability and power, weakness and strength.

This is a fantastic read that keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it hard to put down.
Acorn Award I Golden

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

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Killer of a Mind’ by Valerie Albermarle

This book is both a great story and a sensory pleasure for the reader.

Valerie Albermarle Killer of a MindA gifted writer takes the reader from whatever place and position they’re in and transports them to the setting of the author’s choice and creation.

In ‘Killer of a Mind’, Albermarle immerses the reader in the sights and sensations of various towns along the east coast of America before dunking them in the waters of the Mayan Riviera on the shores of Mexico, where the contrasts and conflicts of this story are heightened by those characteristic of Tulum, the Mexican town in which Ryan finds himself. Noise and quiet reflection, richness and poverty, sunshine and shade all reflect Ryan’s own mental and emotional condition.

Unlike Ryan, the reader understands that there is always more than one side to a story. Albermarle has woven the threads of this story together with craftsmanship and finesse, leaving nothing to either predictability or fate. The reader is not allowed to become complacent – as Ryan discovers, there is always a new challenge, a surprise or a revelation as a corner is turned or a hill is crested that shows the light shining on things differently with a change of perspective.

Albermarle’s writing is rich and vivid, developing magnificent scenery full of colour and sound, and complex characters that seem to have more shade than light to them.
Acorn Award I Golden
Book Squirrel has awarded ‘Killer of a Mind’ one of his special Golden Acorns for excellence because this book is both a great story and a sensory pleasure for the reader.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Mystery At The Fair’ by Connie Cockrell

Readers who enjoy a good mystery will be sure to enjoy ‘Mystery At The Fair’. 

Connie Cockrell Mystery At The Fair
This book introduces Jean Hays, new to Greyson, Arizona, and the newest member of the organising committee for the annual local fair. There are complications aplenty, even before the fair gets under way, and Jean finds herself at front and centre of the story.

This is a well-crafted mystery, full of twists and turns that surprise the reader and keep them guessing right up to the end and a few red herrings thrown in for good measure. The characters are well rounded and interesting, with their flaws as evident as their strengths, making them relatable and realistic.


Those readers who enjoy a good mystery will be sure to enjoy ‘Mystery At The Fair’. Acorn Award I Golden


Book Squirrel has awarded this book a Gold Acorn.


Book Review: ‘The Rose Thief’ by Claire Buss

‘The Rose Thief’ is a book that I just wanted to keep reading.

Claire Buss The Rose Thief


‘The Rose Thief’ is a quirky fantasy adventure that makes compulsive reading. It is entirely delightful and captivating.


Laced with humour and loaded with vivid, unique characters, the story is set in the kingdom of Roshaven, where someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses. This sets off a chain of events in which the reader discovers that things are not always as they appear to be, and there is always more to someone’s actions than what is observed on the surface.


Buss has crafted the story with a high degree of originality: while it includes many standard fantasy elements, the author has shaped and combined them in her own way so that their qualities and abilities are all quite individual and delightfully idiosyncratic.


The reader is quickly engaged by the opening scenes, and then becomes invested in the characters and the challenges they face. The story is well-developed and moves at good pace, with the author demonstrating excellent control over the reader by accelerating and slowing them down at various stages without the reader being conscious of this happening until later.


The unfolding mystery and the development of the characters within the narrative is enhanced by the humour, which is at sometimes very cleverly saucy and at other times subversive, which made this reader chuckle quite a bit, but it is never inappropriate, nor does it overwhelm or distract from the story that is being told.


‘The Rose Thief’ is a book that I just wanted to keep reading. I really hope there is going to be a sequel.

Acorn Award I Golden

Because it’s absolutely brilliant, I did wonder for a moment if there’s any higher award than a Gold Acorn— but there’s not. So a Gold Acorn it is!

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Unlikeliest Candidate’ by J. S. Frankel

An absolutely ripping read for NA and grownups.

Jesse Frankel The Unlikeliest CandidateHarry Cannell’s life is going to hell in a handcart – fast. He’s a regular guy with regular problems that start piling up until one extraordinary event changes everything for him.

It’s great to find a brilliant story that revolves around a character who is actually so ordinary and who struggles to make sense of exactly how he arrived at the point in life where he finds himself as the book opens. This makes him relatable to the reader, and positions them to feel sympathy for the misery he experiences.

This story is a unique blend of mystery, sci-fi, comedy, romance and adventure all in one. It’s a great escape into the realm of ‘What if?’ that tempts the reader to wonder and hope that there might actually be something more, some unrealised possibilities that we simply overlook as we pursue life as we know it.

There is some physical intimacy in this book, so it’s suitable for New Adult audiences and up, rather than YA.

‘The Unlikeliest Candidate’ is an absolutely ripping read from start to finish.
Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded it a Gold Acorn for brilliant storytelling and great writing.

Find your copy at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Kupala Night’ by N.C. Stow

A beautifully written fantasy tale.

N.C. Stow The Kupala Night


When I was young, I had a book of Russian folk stories that filled my imagination with vivid colours, magnificent imagery and rich stories that always had a deeper meaning.  This was where my lifelong interest in Russian history began.


‘The Kupala Night’ took me right back there, and filled me with the same fascination that I remember feeling all those years ago.


Inspired by Russian folklore, this is the beautifully written fantasy tale of a young woman who carelessly fails to heed her grandmother’s warnings.  Unforeseen consequences deliver a clear moral, as exists in every Russian folk tale, before the story finishes with another twist.

It’s a short story that takes less than 30 minutes to read, but the style and beauty of the writing make the reading both satisfying and delightful. Vivid images of the scenes and characters played in my imagination as the story unfolded.

Acorn Award I Golden

I thoroughly enjoyed this short read, and have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.