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: ‘The Blue Serpent’ by Claire Buss

This is a little gem of a book that is well worth reading.

Claire Buss The Blue SerpentHaving recently read and loved ‘The Book Thief’, I was keen to read this brand new collection of flash stories by Claire Buss. They are very different than her excellent novel, but they are great stories nonetheless.

Each story is a brief vignette of a life, a mind, a heart, a soul. Some of them are lighthearted and entertaining, others are much more sobering. I found ‘Possibility’ to be very poignant, while ‘Once Upon a Time’ turned out to be a very powerful commentary on our society that was further developed in ‘Data Stream’.

I appreciated each of these stories for its own qualities, and for the way it made me think about things other than the demands and worries of a busy day. I enjoy reading short stories when life is hectic, and this book has filled bill perfectly.  Acorn Award II Silver

This is a little gem of a book that is well worth reading, and as such, it has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: (Almost) Average Anthology: Tales Of Adventure, Loss and Oddity by Jason Nugent.

A collection that displays the range and power of Nugent’s dark imagination.

Jason Nugent Almost Average AnthologyThis interesting and varied collection opens w ith an astounding personification of death that challenges the reader to confront their fear and think more philosophically about death as an entity rather than an event.

 

Once he has the reader’s attention, Nugent carries them from scene to scene, ranging from bleak to grim, to macabre. Each story delivers a thought-provoking punch or a clever twist that takes the reader by surprise.

 

I chose to enjoy these short stories individually rather than one after another in close succession, and found each one to be very well executed. As a collection, they display the range and power of Nugent’s dark imagination and his ability to deliver each story with a profound effect.

Acorn Award II Silver

This book has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

 

Book Review: ‘Crossroads of Draston’ – An Anthology

A varied and entertaining fantasy collection.

‘Crossroads of Draston’ delivers a varied collection of highly original fantastic tales of elves, dwarves, mages, people and beasts, and of the challenges and struggles they face. All of the stories are well-written and engaging.

As with any anthology, some were more to my taste than others. Of all these Dragonband Tales, those that appealed to me most were ‘The Librarian’ and ‘Magic Within’.

In ‘The Librarian’ the reader is introduced to Wiggum, a delightful gnome burdened with insatiable curiosity, who discovers that even seemingly benign actions can have significant consequences. I really wanted this story to be much longer.

Alaya, the central character of ‘Magic Within’, is the kind of heroine I really love – loyal, brave, and dogged, fully committed to freeing those who are enslaved and serving justice to those who deserve it. I would really like to read the next “chapter” in her story, too.

This collection offers everything from high fantasy to more visceral and macabre stories, so there is something for all fantasy lovers here.

Acorn Award II SilverBook Squirrel has awarded ‘Crossroads of Draston’ a Silver Acorn because it’s an entertaining and varied fantasy anthology.

Find it on Amazon.

Dec 23 ~ Featured Book: ‘Nine Ladies Dancing 2017’.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 23 is ‘Nine Ladies Dancing 2017’.

This collection presents ten Regency romances by bestselling authors— some traditionally sweet, some clean, some mildly sensuous — in a boxed set.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 23 is ‘Nine Ladies Dancing 2017’.

This collection presents ten Regency romances by bestselling authors— some traditionally sweet, some clean, some mildly sensuous — in a boxed set.

Anthology Nine Ladies Dancing 2017

A Lot Like a Lady — Ladies’ maid Juliet Baines finds that pretending to be a lady isn’t nearly as hard as guarding her heart against the folly of wanting a man who’s completely out of reach.

Love, Unmasked — Armed with a new and sensuous gown, a full-face mask, and complete anonymity, Fidelity Scott is determined to make some scandalous memories to sustain her for the rest of her loveless life. But is her life truly without love?

Healing Hearts — Joanna Leighton has seen what love can do to a person and she refuses to subject herself to that pain. But when the quiet and secretive Colin Aldridge moves to town, she begins to wonder if love is perhaps worth the pain it inevitably brings.

Midsummer Love — Three sweet, clean short stories explore just how much fun Regency romance can be.

The Bartered Wife — When her father informs her she’ll be marrying his stepson the next day, Abigail Cavendish stumbles in shock from the house and directly beneath the hooves of a frightened horse. Unconscious, she’s unable to fight back when her father decides to go ahead with the marriage by proxy.

Four Calling Bards — Faced with a sudden plethora of suitors, vicar’s daughter Amanda Collins must choose between the lord of the manor, his footman, or the butcher. Or dare she remain unwed, caring for her father and advocating for the abolition of slavery?

The Color of Deception — After artist Kitty Sullyard mysteriously disappears, Nathaniel Bexley has only a single clue with which to find her. Will he be able to decipher the secret message she’s hidden in a drawing, or will Kitty be doomed to the hands of her kidnappers?

The Duke and His Bluestocking — Augustus Balfour, Duke of Carlisle, needs a wife. But the only woman he finds interesting has no need of a husband. Is there anything he can say to change bluestocking Georgiana Allen’s mind?

The Golden Goose — Rose Walsh tried to escape one man only to be kidnapped and held prisoner by another. She has lived under disguise as a ship’s boy for eight years. Then she hears the voice of a man that sparks a memory of the woman she once was. Will the bond they form see them to safety — and maybe beyond?

Something Like a Lady — Lady Annabella Price prefers hiding out in an abandoned cottage in the country to being with her stepbrother, the Duke of Wyndham, for even a day. At least she did… until the insufferable Lord Seabrook showed up.

‘Nine Ladies Dancing 2017’ is available on Amazon.

Dec 18 ~ Featured Book: ‘Spells and Jingle Bells’ anthology.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 18 is ‘Spells and Jingle Bells’, an anthology collection of cozy paranormal holiday themed stories by fifteen different authors.

Something for everyone in this budget friendly collection!

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 18 is ‘Spells and Jingle Bells’, an anthology collection of cozy paranormal holiday themed stories by fifteen different authors.Anthology Spells and Jingle Bells

It looks as though there is something for everyone in this collection of holiday themed paranormal stories.

‘Tis the season for sugarplums, gingerbread, and … eye of newt?

Ring in the holiday season with a little sprinkle of magic and mystery. Meet new friends and reunite with old ones as fifteen paranormal mystery authors spread some holiday cheer in this anthology collection of never before published short stories and novellas.

‘Spells and Jingle Bells’ is available on Amazon.

Dec 16 ~ Featured Book: ‘A Very Faerie Christmas: Six Holiday Inspired Novellas’

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 16 is ‘A Very Faerie Christmas: Six Holiday Inspired Novellas’.

This looks like a wonderful holiday collection at a very budget-friendly price

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 16 is ‘A Very Faerie Christmas: Six Holiday Inspired Novellas’ by Meara Platt, Avril Borthiry, Ruth Vincent, Jack Heckel, Michele Lang, and Bishop O’Connell. 

Anthology A Very Faerie Christmas

Join award winning, USA Today and bestselling authors for a journey into the enchanted realm of the Fae with this collection of brand new holiday stories spanning from humorous Regency and tender historical to quirky contemporary and gritty urban tales of faerie magic, human redemption, and the power of love.

Meara Platt – A Mistletoe Kiss: When Lady Imogen Fairchild wishes for a faerie godmother, her Christmas wish goes awry and she finds herself with Beogrin, a handsome Fae warrior, instead. Beogrin is duty bound to serve her and is not in the least happy about it. Neither is Imogen, for she cannot have a hulking, brawny soldier following her around. But will Imogen ever be able to release this Fae warrior from his obligation to her now that he has conquered her heart?

Avril Borthiry – Matthew’s Hope: Set in England’s rural north at the turn of the 20th century, Matthew’s journey from boy to man is plagued with challenges. Yet throughout, he never forgets the little girl who saved his life, the girl no one else could see. Was she real? Or had he imagined her?
As Britain and Europe descend into ‘the war to end all wars’, Matthew must face his greatest challenge of all. It is at his lowest point, his darkest time, that the girl he has never forgotten returns. Her name is Hope. Is she real? Because she is exactly what Matthew needs.

Jack Heckel – The Holly And The Ivy: By most measures, Malcolm has a great life, but nothing seems right, not even his perfect girlfriend. After leaving a party, he encounters the faerie Phaedra, but can her magic help him find true love in time for Christmas? And if so, is he willing to pay the price? A story inspired by the Christmas carol of the same name.

Ruth Vincent – Above Thy Deep And Dreamless Sleep: When the Fairy Queen tries to guilt-trip her changeling daughter, Mab, into returning to fairyland by transforming Mab’s loved ones into mannequins in the New York City Christmas store window displays, Mab must outwit the Fairy Queen’s tricks to save her friends and learn what it truly means to go home for the holidays.

Michele Lang – The Laws Of Magic: When a wicked army of Night Fae invades the small coastal town of New Castle, Connecticut, Ayna Cassidy, human chaos machine, must somehow overcome her painfully tangled past and stop them from ravaging her home. With the help of a magical lawyer, Rowan Royall, Ayna seeks both true love and salvation – but first she must unlock the secret magic hidden deep in her heart.

Bishop O’Connell – The Greatest Gift Of All: Wraith is a spell slinger, able to manipulate reality itself, but she’s been on the streets since losing her parents and her life has never been easy. Through all the darkness, she’s always tried to help the other children living at the fringes of society; the dejected, the ignored, and the forgotten. Now, the Fae court needs her help in finding a solstice child. If Wraith succeeds, the child will become a beacon of hope. If she fails, the child will become a monster, inspiring anger and rage. Wraith has faced all manner of terrors, both mundane and supernatural, and has never backed down from a fight. Can she save this solstice child and bring hope to the hopeless when she’s never had much of that even for herself?

‘A Very Faerie Christmas: Six Holiday Inspired Novellas’ is available at Amazon.