Book Review: ‘Reaper’s Folly’ by Nikki Landis

A fascinating exposition of a truly evil mind.

Nikki Landis Reapers Folly
Not since C.S. Lewis’ brilliant book ‘The Screwtape Letters’ have I read such a fascinating exploration of a truly evil, devilish mind, where even his demon followers are the victims of Darkness.

 

‘Reaper’s Folly’ delivers a powerful and emotionally charged story that brings the reader face to face with evil in its darkest forms. Landis’ writing  and story craft is magnificent, with some profound moments of macabre terror. The greatest horror, however, is the realisation that it may, in fact, be true.

 

Acorn Award I GoldenThis terrific book has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Clearing’ by A.M. Rycroft

‘The Clearing’ is a well-written short story that delivers some effectively developed moments of tension and mild horror.

A.M. Rycroft The ClearingWhen Anthony takes Suzanne on a picnic in a surprise location, they both get more of a surprise than either of them counted on.

‘The Clearing’ is a well-written short story that delivers some effectively developed moments of tension and mild horror.

It’s long enough to develop the ideas and dramatic tension effectively, but short enough to read and enjoy comfortably in a lunch break.

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Acorn Award II Silver‘The Clearing’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn as I would have liked it to be just a little longer.
Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Christmas Miracle on Memorial Day’ by R.M.Gauthier

Enjoyable and easy to read, this novella—and the series to which it belongs— is sure to appeal to lovers of lighthearted and heartwarming romance. 

Renee Gauthier Christmas Miracle on Memorial DayThe fourth Christmas Miracle novella delivers the next chapter in the relationship of Jack and Charlotte in Christmas Town. As with the other books in this series, Gauthier tells the story in a familiar and comfortable manner that leaves the reader wanting more when the story comes to an end. While this book is set entirely on the one day, we see that there has been quite some development in the characters’ lives since the previous instalment of their story.
Enjoyable and easy to read, this novella—and the series to which it belongs— is sure to appeal to lovers of lighthearted and heartwarming romance.

Acorn Award I Golden

This book has been awarded one of Book Squirrel’s Gold Acorn awards.
Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Lost Inheritance Mystery’ by Ben Hammott

An enjoyable Victorian-style mystery story.

Ben Hammott Lost Inheritance Mystery

This is an enjoyable gothic Victorian-style mystery story, fashioned in a manner that aims to emulate the style of Dickens’ portrayal of the people and society of the time. The writing and character development are infused with humour, and the story itself is interesting, although the pace of the story is at times a little slower than I would have preferred. The characters are likeable, even if their names are somewhat contrived, albeit in a humorous way. As the story draws to an end, Hammott delivers a series of clever twists that add to both the irony and the Dickensian humour of the book.

The final chapter, though, brought with it a complete change of pace, which I suspect the book may have been better off without – there is nothing wrong with this chapter in itself, but i think it may have served better as the first chapter of the next mystery misadventure for these characters.

Acorn Award III BronzeI did enjoy this book, although not as much as I have enjoyed others of Ben Hammott’s works, so I’m awarding it a Bronze Acorn.

Find ‘The Lost Inheritance Mystery’ on Amazon.

Book Review: The Riddle of the Gods – Shiva XIV Book 3 by Lyra Shanti

Space opera of epic proportions.

Continuing directly from the first two books in the series, ‘The Riddle Of The Gods’ follows the inter-planetary conflicts and politics that impact so powerfully on the lives of Ayn, Pei and Axis and their compatriots as they fight against the corruption and oppression that has placed their universe in peril. Their battles are personal as much as they are planetary, and as the drama unfolds, the urgency with which they must fight increases. Choices must be made, relationships and alliances are formed, and consequences can be significant far beyond individual circumstances. Through all this, the theme of honor and loyalty is pervasive.

One of the elements of this series that I really admire is the way in which Shanti leads her characters on a personal pilgrimage in which each must accept who they are as an individual before they can fulfill their destiny. It’s a powerful lesson that addresses the most crippling fear of many people: ‘Am I enough?’ in a resounding and positive way.

This really is an elegantly constructed universe, and its stories are compelling. Shanti has yet again demonstrated her prowess as a world-builder and architect of complex, deeply involving characters and storylines.

The Shiva XIV series really is a brilliant space opera of epic proportions. Get on board— it’s a trip you don’t want to miss.

Acorn Award I Golden

As with Shanti’s Shiva XIV Books 1 and 2, and companion novellas, ‘The Riddle Of The God’s’ has received one of Book Squirrel’s shiny Gold Acorn awards.

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Hope’s Well’ by India Emerald

A mysterious and interesting short story.

‘Hope’s Well’ tells the tale of Verity Buckthorne and her fascination with a mysterious well near her home.

The reader develops quite an insight into the working of Verity’s mind by reading her diary entries, which makes the story interesting on a psychological level as well as a fictional one.

The tale is crafted cleverly, with a slow build toward the climax and suggestions of other mysteries along the way. It has a lovely reminiscent sense of times gone by and old-fashioned charm, achieved by the author’s development of both characters and setting.

‘Hope’s Well’ is a short but substantial read that will please lovers of mystery and speculative fiction.

Acorn Award I GoldenBook Squirrel has awarded Hope’s Well a Golden Acorn.

Find this book on Amazon.

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: ‘Bitter Beginnings’ by Aliya DalRae.

Bitter Beginnings is a great read that has left me wanting the next book in the series. 

The first of Aliya DalRae’s Fallen Cross Pack Series, this compelling story delves into the history of one of the minor characters in the Jessica Sweet mysteries and places him firmly in the spotlight. While ‘Sweet Vengeance’ and ‘Sweet Discovery’ focus on interactions between the human and vampire worlds, ‘Bitter Beginnings’ explores the world of the shifters in the wolf pack that lives near Jessica’s home town of Fallen Cross.
Aliya DalRae Fallen Cross Pack 1 Bitter Beginnings

Bitter Beginnings is exactly what the title suggests: there is no romantic “padding” in this story. Patrick’s story is straightforward and, at times, brutal. It’s easy to see how his experiences contributed to the Alpha of the Pack that we meet in DalRae’s earlier novels and stories.

DalRae’s writing is intuitive and fluent, giving her narrative an easy-to-read feel and infusing her characters with qualities that the reader can easily identify with, without dumbing anything down. She is an accomplished storyteller who never fails to transport the reader into the world she has created and into the lives, challenges and aspirations of her characters.

Bitter Beginnings is a great read that has left me wanting the next book in the series.

Golden Acorns
For all of these reasons, this book has earned a delicious Gold Acorn.

Find ‘Bitter Beginnings’ on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Tempus Fugit by Timothy Casey

This book is a fabulously naughty romp through time and space with Veerle, Myst, and Verrick along with a diverse range of friends, adversaries and AI for company.

Timothy Casey Tempus Fugit
This book is a fabulously naughty romp through time and space with Veerle, Myst, and Verrick along with a diverse range of friends, adversaries and AI for company. It had me laughing on the first page, and countless times throughout. The storyline is original and interesting, made complete by questions that need to be answered and some serious and touching moments for balance. The humour with which the story is delivered is refreshing and clever.
It does contain mature content, so it is suitable only for an 18+ audience. It’s LGBTI friendly, so it’s sure to please anyone with an open mind and a sense of humour.

 ‘Tempus Fugit’ was a really nice change and a great escape from the more serious and thought-provoking reading in which I often indulge. It is most suited for any grownup looking for a lighthearted read that still gives the grey matter something to do.

Silver Acorns

‘Tempus Fugit’ receives a Silver Acorn.

                                                                                                   Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Blue Light Christmas 2: A Cry for Elf’ by Tobey Alexander

‘A Cry for Elf’ is a fun read for kids and grownups alike. 

Tobey Alexander Blue Light Christmas 2‘A Cry for Elf’ is a fun read for kids and grownups alike.  Set one year after the first book in the series, Alexander takes readers of all ages on a romp through the North Pole in which Constable Tim Tinsel and his daughter, Eve, are challenged with the task of rescuing Santa and reclaiming Christmas from key occupants of the Naughty list.

The story is delightful, full of action and humour that will entertain and amuse independent readers and provide meaningful family time for those who read the story together. The story delivers clear moral messages about choosing to do what is right and putting others before ourselves, without being either preachy or self-righteous.

There’s no reason at all why reading this book should be limited to the Christmas season. It’s perfectly entertaining and valuable reading for any day of the year.

Golden Acorns
This was Book Squirrel’s featured book in the Bookish Advent Event on December 9th, so it’s delightful to be able to give it a Golden Acorn in recognition of its excellence.
Find it on Amazon.