Book Review: ‘The Castle’ by Nikki Moyes

A highly original and engaging short read.

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Nikki Moyes The Castle
‘The Castle’ is a fantasy/scifi short story about Risha, who finds herself vulnerable because of her age and place in society.

 

This is a story in which the author has created an empowering female lead character for a YA audience, something that we definitely need to see more of at this point in time. Rather than dwelling on her weaknesses, Risha focuses on her strengths and uses them to face the situation in which she finds herself.

 

The reader is quickly immersed in Risha’s world, becoming an observer and looking over Risha’s shoulder as she transforms from an observer into an actor in the story that unfolds,  taking some surprising turns that keep the reader guessing.

 

Highly original and engaging, this is a great short read that can easily be enjoyed in a lunch break.

Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded ‘The Castle’ a Gold Acorn.

 

Find your copy on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘A Shape On The Air’ by Jill Ibbotson

This brilliant story is an absolutely enthralling blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction.

Julia Ibbotson A Shape On The Air

This brilliant story is an absolutely enthralling blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction.

Drawn into the life of Vivianne Du Lac, history professor, the reader is almost immediately plunged into an intricate web of complications, challenges and unexpected developments that are woven together so that no strand of the story is independent of the others. The narrative is smooth and well-constructed, and Ibbotson’s writing is excellent.

The characters are very well crafted, especially given that each fits into more than one story strand. Viv is the most complex and detailed of them all, being the central character, but the others are all given depth through their interactions and responses as the story progresses.

More than simply being enjoyable, this is a thought-provoking and involving read in which the reader becomes completely engrossed. Acorn Award I Golden

‘A Shape On The Air’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy at Amazon.

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.

Book Review: ‘Fairytale Christmas’ by Merrie Destefano

This was Book Squirrel’s Bookish Advent Event selection on December 20, so it’s lovely to be able to award ‘Fairytale Christmas’ a delicious Gold Acorn on Christmas Eve!

Merrie DeStefano FairyTale Christmas

A magical story of the power of love and its ability to endure despite time and evil. The tension of the opening chapters is gripping, setting the scene for the rest of the story to build and develop.

The seamless blend of original fantasy, paranormal elements and legend makes this book unique and fascinating.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.

Golden AcornsThis was Book Squirrel’s Bookish Advent Event selection on December 20, so it’s lovely to be able to award ‘Fairytale Christmas’ a delicious Gold Acorn on Christmas Eve!

Find it at Amazon.

Dec 21 ~ Featured Book: ‘The Nutcracker Reimagined: A Collection of Christmas Tales’.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 21 is ‘The Nutcracker Reimagined: A Collection of Christmas Tales’. 

This looks like a gorgeous collection, based on characters from the famous Christmas ballet. It’s certainly a unique idea in the world of reimagined traditional tales. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 21 is ‘The Nutcracker Reimagined: A Collection of Christmas Tales’.

This looks like a gorgeous collection, based on characters from the famous Christmas ballet. It’s certainly a unique idea in the world of reimagined traditional tales.

Imagine, if you will, that it is Christmas Eve. Anthology The Nutcracker Reimagined

The candles are guttered, one by one, and a hush falls over the grand parlor. The children have gone to bed, and a tall, gloriously decorated Christmas tree looms in the shadows of the hearth’s dying embers. Beside the tree a nutcracker stands guard, its broken jaw cradled in a kerchief tied about its head. All is quiet in this dark, peaceful scene until the long case clock chimes. Dulcet tones form a gentle symphony, and the parlor comes to life.

Now, the magic happens.

Lose yourself in The Nutcracker Reimagined, a collection of eleven Christmas tales based on the most treasured characters from the famous holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. Sugarplum fairies will dance in your head, as armies of mice and legions of dolls do battle, and a wounded nutcracker and his lady fair become the stuff of which legends are made. From Arabian dancers to living flowers and hosts of angels, enjoy these tales as reimagined characters from the beloved Christmas tradition find their own happily ever after.

And as the clock’s chimes signal the approaching sunrise, you’ll awaken from these magical stories to discover it has all been a beautiful dream of a retold Christmas classic.

‘The Nutcracker Reimagined: A Collection of Christmas Tales’ is available at Amazon.

Dec 13 ~ Featured Book: ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ by M.L. Sparrow

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 13 is ‘’No Rest For The Wicked’ by M.L. Sparrow.

This looks like an interesting fantasy story with a touch of romance and a holiday theme, too!

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 13 is ‘’No Rest For The Wicked’ by M.L. Sparrow.

This looks like an interesting fantasy story with a touch of romance and a holiday theme, too!
ML Sparrow No Rest For The Wicked

When a rich gentleman finds a beautiful young woman lying in the snow, on the brink of death, he takes her back to his house and, when she has recovered, employs her as a maid. Immediately Elira realizes that Anthony Luther is no ordinary man and nothing about the house she now lives in is as it seems, for Anthony is a powerful wizard.

Inexplicably drawn together, they begin a tentative romance, but it’s not just Elira’s uncertainties and the rules of upper-class society which drive a wedge between them; rivalries and a precious family heirloom, a priceless necklace of unforeseen power handed down through generations, threaten not only the couple’s happiness, but also their lives and the safety of the people around them.

‘’No Rest For The Wicked’ is available at Amazon.

Dec 8 ~ Featured Book: Once Upon A Fabulous Time

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 8 is another brand new release: ‘Once Upon a Fabulous Time’.

This is an anthology like you’ve never seen before: 9 reinvented fairy tales for adults by six different authors, each a standalone novella, embedded in an entirely different narrative. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 8 is another brand new release: ‘Once Upon a Fabulous Time’.

This is an anthology like you’ve never seen before: nine reinvented fairy tales for adults by six different authors, each a standalone novella, embedded in an entirely different and original fairy tale.

OUAFT

Dreams really do come true…

Millie Monroe has one bright spot in her life: her job at the library. When a wealthy investor comes to town, she is overjoyed by what his presence could mean for the library…and for her.

Early one afternoon, while working alone, Millie encounters a magical book that insists on being read. Similar books continue to appear, transporting her to strange realms, from the Fabulous to the bizarre, where adventure and romance rule the day. From Wizards to Werewolves, Dragons to Santa Claus, this parade of enchanting creatures opens her eyes to the events taking place around her.

She also discovers that when dealing with creatures of the magical variety, even in fairy tales life isn’t always sunshine and Unicorns. Perhaps when looking for her heart’s desire, she should look no further than her own little corner of the world.

If you believe…

‘Once Upon a Fabulous Time’ is available at Amazon.