Book Review: ‘Bad Candy’ by India Emerald

Bad Candy: fun for adults, not so good for kids.

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India Emerald Bad CandyThe title of this wicked little book is the first indication that it’s not all going to be about sweetness and innocence. In fact, it’s a romp full of magic, mystery and mayhem through the land of Charmnia, where some very bad business has been cooked up.

This story is a lot of fun, infused wtih good humour and plenty of action, and populated by a varied cast of characters, some of whom are more tasteful than others. As Marvelo discovers, it’s hard to know who to trust in a land where everything is sugar-coated, but he’s determined to find the answers he needs.

One important thing to note is that some of the humour is oriented toward adult understandings, so even though the book has a candy theme and motifs, it’s probably not suitable for audiences younger than mid-teens.
Acorn Award II Silver

This was an enjoyable short read at the end of a busy day, and it made me laugh. I’ve awarded it a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Children: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Children is the third short story of the Dragonhall prequels to Dragonhaze,

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 3The third short story of the Dragonhall prequels to Dragonhaze, ‘Nerra’s Children’ is darker and more sobering than the others. The magin are still being persecuted and put to death, and Nerra faces challenges more heartbreaking than ever before.

Although older and less impulsive, Nerra remains the strong, loyal woman that we have seen her become in her first two stories. By the time the reader finishes this third story, they are familiar with Nerra and her world, and keen to discover more in the pages of Dragonhaze, the novel that follows.

Like the others in the series, this evocative story is very well written.
Acorn Award II Silver
This poignant and evocative story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Run: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Run is the second of three short story prequels to Dragonhaze.

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 2
The sequel to ‘Nerra’s Flight’, this second instalment in the Draginhall Chronicles short story series is set some years later. Children with magical abilities are still being captured and killed, and the authorities are still pursuing Nerra.

‘Nerra’s Run’ is darker and more suspenseful than the first. The author establishes a strong sense of foreboding that continues to build as the story develops. Older and still determined to defy those who want her captured and killed, Nerra remains a character whose bravery and determination are admirable, and with whom the reader can sympathise strongly. She is developed with additional depth in this story in ways which both increase the reader’s affection and support for her, and fill them with anxiety for her future.

The action in this short story moves at a steady pace, carrying the reader along as the tension rises.

Once again, Mirren Hogan has excelled in her storytelling craft.

Acorn Award II Silver
This beautifully written story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Flight: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Flight is the first of three short story prequels to Dragonhaze.

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 1Nerra’s filght introduces Nerra, a young adult magin, living in a world in which even the ability to use magic is punishable by death.

The first of Nerra’s stories, ‘Nerra’s Flight’ tells of her attempt to escape those who would punish her for her abilities. Dragons, suspense and adventure await!

The story is engaging and interesting, and the reader quickly warms to both Nerra and her sister. It’s a brief but enchanting introduction to this series of stories, of which I am definitely keen to read more.

Acorn Award II Silver
This beautifully written story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Waiting Room’ by Jonathan Kent

A suspenseful and thought-provoking short story.

Jonathan Kent The Waiting Room‘The Waiting Room’ is a suspenseful short story that builds up slowly to a surprise ending. The author effectively establishes a strong sense of curiosity and anticipation that grows to a profound crescendo as the truth of Gary Simpson’s situtation is revealed.

There were some nice twists in the story development, aided by subtle details that suddenly became relevant as the story progressed. I enjoyed the story and the deep sense of ironic humour with which it is loaded.

This thought-provoking story is easily read and enjoyed in under an hour, which makes it an ideal read for busy readers or a great filler for a lunchtime break.
Acorn Award II Silver

‘The Waiting Room’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Out Of The Sands’ by S.A. Gibson and Safa Shaqsy

A fascinating steampunk adventure short story.

SA Gibson Safa Shaqsy Out Of The Sands‘Out Of The Sands’ is a fascinating steampunk adventure short story of political intrigue set in Egypt during a time of social reconstruction.

Aaleyah has been hired to survey the nation’s antiquities; Sunil is her engineer and balloonist. They are immediately very likeable and well-crafted characters, and develop more fully as the story progresses.

The plot unfolds at an exciting pace, with lots of action and movement to keep the reader engaged throughout. The steampunk elements are subtle and well-designed, adding elegance and depth to the story.

This is a very enjoyable and interesting read, finished comfortably in an hour, and includes libraries, history, and sword fighting. What more could a reader want in a story?
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Out Of The Sands’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

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.