Book Review: ‘Who Put Her In?’ by Jane Jago

‘Who Put Her In?’ is a gripping mystery/thriller that is very hard to put down.

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Jane Jago Who Put Her In

‘Who Put Her In?’ is a gripping mystery/thriller that is very hard to put down. Set in an old English pub, populated by relatable and engaging characters, this is a book that draws the reader in and has them stay right to the end.
The story revolves around Joss and Ben, who take on running a pub for two weeks while the owners take a vacation, and find themselves confronting the various problems that have been haunting the establishment for some time.

Jane Jago delivers the story from the matter-of-fact, no nonsense perspective of Joss, whose personality makes it possible for the reader to take in the depths and shocks of the story without personally taking them on board. One does not get far into the story before feeling as though they know Joss and Ben quite well, and the story unfolds quite seamlessly around the reader who is included as an observer.

I enjoyed this book so much that I was happy to forgive the occasional typographical error as I was reading. In fact, I felt a little sad to be leaving the Fair Maid and Falcon at the end of it all.

Acorn Award I Golden

This excellent book has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Souls Asunder’ by Miranda Brock

Miranda Brock has definitely cemented her place in my shortlist of “one click authors” whose books I will buy in a heartbeat.

Miranda Brock TKW 2 Souls Asunder

It is a skilful writer who develops the characters in such a way that the reader visualises them in all their different expressions, holds their breath in moments of suspense, and only realises they were doing so when they let that breath go.

Miranda Brock is one such writer.

The sequel to Souls Discovered, this is the second in Miranda Brock’s The Keeper’s Way series for young adults and older. Brock has crafted another exciting and deeply involving story in which The Keeper, Autumn, and her Searchers confront the terrible powers of evil in their efforts to rid the world of those very powers. There is plenty of action to keep the story going, and there are a number of absolutely gut-wrenching moments that keep the reader absolutely enthralled.

Just as Autumn and her Searchers know each other better and have a stronger connection in the second book, the reader also feel a stronger bond with the central characters because they, too, know them better now. I didn’t even realise how much I had invested emotionally in this book until I finished it.

After reading Book 1, I knew better than to expect a predictable ending in the sequel, and Souls Asunder does not disappoint. I’m so keen for Book 3 and dead keen to know what happens next.

Miranda Brock has definitely cemented her place in my shortlist of “one click authors” whose books I will buy in a heartbeat.miranda-brock-souls-discovered

Golden Acorns
Because Book Squirrel was giving  star ratings rather than Acorn Awards when he reviewed Book One, both books in The Keeper’s Way series are receiving a shiny Gold Acorn today.

The Keeper’s Way series is available on Amazon.

 

Book Review: ‘Fateful Attraction’ by Lucretia Stanhope

There is nothing repetitive or boring about this story or this series of books.
The story just keeps on developing and building with each new phase.

The third book in the series, this sequel to ‘Blessedly Bound‘ and ‘Burning Captivation‘ takes the central character Gwen and the reader on another emotional roller coaster of danger and discovery as she seeks answers and justice, which are equally difficult to find. There are plenty of heart-in-your-throat moments as the story unfolds, especially as the distinctions between good, bad and sheer, unrepressed evil become clearer.

As with the previous books in the series, the central mystery and some of Gwen’s questions are solved, but other challenges and quests remain for future books. There is nothing repetitive or boring about this story or this series of books. The story just keeps on developing and building with each new phase.

lucretia-stanhope-ewt-3-fateful-attractions.jpg

Golden Acorns

Yet again, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lucretia Stanhope’s work. It’s another Golden Acorn from me.

Book Review: ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ by Eric Tanafon

Six stars out of five: an amazing book, magnificently written!

Every now and then, as a reader, I experience an incredible moment of revelation when I take in an expression or image of something that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.

No sooner had I started reading ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ than I had to stop and experience the moment. I had just read an extraordinarily beautiful sentence: “The forest clearing was a web of moonlight and shadows.”

What perfect imagery!  It is simple and direct, but powerfully evocative at the same time.

In that moment, I was there. I had been transported to that forest clearing and drawn into the world of the story, even before I knew anything else about it.

This is the magic a writer works when wielding the wand that is their pen.

Eric Tanafon Robin Hood Wolf's Head

Tanafon continues to cast these spells with magnificent imagery throughout this book. As tales are told and the various storylines develop, the author provides the reader with a feast of sensory morsels that both satisfy and delight the reader.

At times, such images can be consumed at speed. Others, like this one, demand more thoughtful digestion to fully appreciate the skill in Tanafon’s craft:

“The autumn day had dawned softly, with light mists gathered around the sun like a veil. In the late morning the forest was still sweet and moist, haunted by the ghosts of decaying leaves.”

As a writer, I lost count of the times I read a sentence or two and thought to myself, “I wish I had written that!”

Tanafon’s genius in reinventing the story of Robin Hood as a paranormal adventure is equally as enchanting as his writing. The stories of Robin Hood, his band of followers and of their enemies are interwoven, not as a braid but as a rich tapestry. Thus the old stories are retold, stripping back the gloss of legend and hero worship and offering the reader a far more thought-provoking and deeply engaging retelling of the famous tales.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s not just a fantastic read: this is literature absolutely worthy of the top shelf.

Available on Amazon.

Book Review: The Dragon Warrior Of Kri by Lyra Shanti

An enthralling tale of self-discovery and destiny that will leave readers wanting more.

Lyra Shanti Dragon Warrior of Kri

An enthralling tale of self-discovery and destiny.

Set in the complex and dynamic world of Shanti’s Shiva XIV series, The Dragon Warrior of Kri is a powerful short story that explores part of the early life of Meddhi, whom we meet as an older man in the Shiva XIV novels.

It’s a thought-provoking storyline enriched by beautifully written sensory detail and powerful undercurrents of love, self-discovery and rising to meet the challenges of one’s destiny.

The characters are vivid and engaging, each one portrayed as complex, highly individual, and conflicted both by their own flaws and by others’ expectations of them. This makes them highly relatable, and keeps the reader hoping that their favorite will prevail.

Shanti is a master of world building and story telling. Her writing draws the reader into this world and envelopes them in the drama and crisis points of the story so effectively that it’s hard to put the book down.

Although it is a short story that fully complements the Shiva XIV series, it works perfectly well as a standalone story.

New readers should consider themselves warned, though: this book will leave them wanting more. Thankfully, Shanti’s novels and other stories set in the same world are able to provide exactly that.

The Dragon Warrior of Kri is available on Amazon.

Read the Book Squirrel’s author spotlight on Lyra Shanti.

Book Review: Moon Breaker by Matthew Marchitto

This is a highly interesting and exciting story that gives the reader plenty to think about.

Matthew Marchitto Moon Breaker

This is a highly interesting and exciting story that gives the reader plenty to think about.

In Moon Breaker, Marchitto delivers a gripping, brutal portrayal of a society breaking down from within through a tribal fantasy adventure story that explores what happens to a society when its people abandon the values that underpin it.

Moon Breaker raises significant ethical questions about how the value a society places on the wellbeing of the individual vs that of the collective, and the impact that value has on what is considered right and wrong.  The events and characters of the story challenge the reader to think about what happens when common understandings of truth and right are actually based on lies, as well as when those lies are confronted and exposed, and the consequences this can have for individuals.

This book is really well written. The central characters are complex and well-developed, while the necessary qualities of the secondary and minor characters are portrayed clearly and effectively in the light of the key ideas and message of the story.

Marchitto’s expression and imagery was creative and powerful, delivering his ideas in profound ways. My favourite line in the book is where Nala, in her grief, watches keepsakes possessions burn along with something more sacred and valuable. With the conviction that nothing mattered anymore, her observation is that “they all burned the same in her eyes.”
That line made me pause and think about how realistic that was as a portrayal of the effect of grief on an individual who has lost far more than “things”.

The story moved at a good pace and kept me intrigued from one phase to the next.  The ending is as profound as the discoveries made along the way by Nala, Koll and Kohn.

All in all, it’s a ripping good read that offers a fascinating study of human nature along the way.

It’s a solid five stars from me.

You can find Moon Breaker on Amazon.

Book Review: The Undernet by J.S. Frankel

‘The Undernet’ by J. S. Frankel brings new definition to the age-old contest between good and evil, and between truth and deceit as a young man seeks answers that seem determined to remain hidden. 

‘The Undernet’ by J. S. Frankel brings new definition to the age-old contest between good and evil, and between truth and deceit as a young man seeks answers that seem determined to remain hidden.

Jesse Frankel The Undernet

Frankel has crafted realistic, likeable and engaging central characters in Milt and his girlfriend, Robbie.  They’re not perfect, and their mistakes have consequences, which makes them easier to empathise with and understand. Insights into Milt’s thoughts and gut reactions, and his feelings about Robbie, draw the reader into the often very confronting story of his quest for justice and truth.

Part of Frankel’s genius in casting this story is designing characters who live and work in the shadows, so that the reader has to keep questioning whether they are the good guys or the bad guys. There are so many layers of intrigue and concealment in this story that the reader is kept curious and wanting to know, much like Milt throughout this story, seeing the truth despite layers of concealment and misinformation. In this sense, the Undernet and the Dark Net take on the roles of additional impersonal characters that deliberately obscure reality in this story, just as they seem to in actual fact.

Some parts of The Undernet are definitely uncomfortable to read. In graphic contrast to the sincere and honest friendship Milt has with Robbie and with his best friend, Simon, Frankel gives his readers a solidly-written exposè of the dark side of human nature as one is likely to find it on the dark side of the internet – or anywhere. This is delivered with confronting realism and honesty. Through all of this, It was the strong identification I felt with with Milt’s “ordinary person” response to the ugly side of life that enabled me to keep reading and hoping for him to find the resolution he was so desperate to find.

The Undernet is available on Amazon or from devinedestinies.com