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

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

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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 Celtic Curse: Newgrange’ by D.J. Doyle

A gritty read for lovers of dark fiction.

This is a dark, gritty and fatalistic story of ancient beliefs, rituals and powers that grapple for control of the future of the world as we know it. Doyle builds the story masterfully, complete with twists that take the reader’s breath away and a sense of urgency that grows as the action escalates.

The contrasts between the different characters and their personal ethics are really interesting, and serve as a reminder that human nature is flawed and can, when devoted solely to an ideology or even to oneself, be truly evil without any additional help from the spiritual realm.

‘The Celtic Curse: Newgrange’ is a highly original and often macabre tale crafted from strands of legend, religion, ancient culture, sex, superstition, loyalty and friendship.

It does contain adult content and violence, so is suitable for an adult audience. If you like your fiction dark and your endings darker, this book is for you.

Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a shiny 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: 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