Book Review: ‘Storm at Keizer Manor’ by Ramcy Diek

The story opens at a point where the relationship between Annet and Forrest is complicated by their different pasts and by their different aspirations for the future. As is often the way, their feelings for one another really only crystallize when they are blindsided by events that change everything for them. 

As the narrative progresses, the reader is reminded of the importance of both communicating one’s love for another so that nothing is left to assumption or doubt, and of making the most of every moment, not taking each other for granted. 

This book delivers a fascinating study of the contrasts in moral judgements and social expectations of women between the 19th and 21st century, and challenges the reader to contemplate how they might cope if they found themselves in a different time, and without electricity, cars or smart phones. Annet is challenged not only by the differences between the two time periods, but also by the prejudice with which she is treated by those who have no understanding of her origins or culture. 

The story is quite well structured and progresses at a good pace. The characters are realistic and varied, and generally quite well developed, although I did feel that Forrest was a little too prone to dithering about and moaning without really developing or progressing the story much at a crucial part of the plot when he could have heightened the drama and suspense had he responded differently. 

The use of alternating points of view enabled the reader to have quite deep insight into the thoughts and feelings of both Forrest and Annet, engaging in their circumstances and becoming quite invested in how the complications of the story might be resolved. 

Overall, this was quite an enjoyable and interesting book. 

Storm at Keizer Manor’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here

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

Another great instalment in R.M. Gauthier’s holiday themed mystery series.

There are more ghosts from the past than Jack can handle in this sixth book in Gauthier’s lighthearted mystery/romance novella series, which is set in Christmas Town at Halloween.  

This instalment in the series sees the mysteries of Jack’s current case heighten as the secrecy about his investigation is revealed. 

At the same time, Jack finds himself in trouble with Charlotte more than once as questions about family, friends and events of the past come to the surface. A sense of foreboding lands heavily on the reader as Halloween arrives, leaving them to wonder if Jack will really prove able to help Charlotte deal with the parts of her past that haunt her still.

Once again, Gauthier has delivered an enjoyable and lighthearted read, loaded with enough questions to make the reader keep going in the hope of finding answers in the next book in the series. 

Christmas Miracle on Halloween has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Curtain Call’ by CH Clepitt

Whether you choose the novella or the audiobook, ‘Curtain Call’ is an excellent choice of book.

‘Curtain Call’ is a touching and poignant story of a young woman named Jen finding her way in her first real theatre job, in the drama that unfolds backstage between theatre staff and performers. It is quite uniquely styled and very engaging in its humour, but also provides well-constructed moments of pathos that really move the reader and involve them more deeply in the story. 

Any keen reader of Clepitt’s work knows that it is wise to expect the unexpected. The plot of ‘Curtain Call’ is original and the cast of characters are all remarkably quirky and incredibly normal at the same time, yet the story is highly relatable to anyone who has experienced the crushing anxiety of not knowing what to do in a new job or wishing they knew exactly where they stood in their relationships. The overall effect is one of the reader feeling as though they have made a new group of friends that they might easily bump into tomorrow while picking up a coffee in town.

The audiobook runs for 3 hours and 15 minutes. The narration is clear and enjoyable, with good use of voice and characterisation to bring the characters and the story alive. The narrator’s voice is pleasant and easy to listen to, so the whole listening experience was a pleasure.

The ‘Curtain Call’ audiobook and novella have both been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

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Book Review: ‘Christmas Miracle on the 4th of July’ by R.M. Gauthier

An enjoyable and lighthearted read.

This fifth book in Gauthier’s lighthearted mystery/romance novella series is set around the July 4th holiday, giving much of the story a celebratory tone that readers will enjoy. Those less inclined to decorate and celebrate every event will identify with Jack, less curmudgeonly than he was at the beginning of the series, but still bemused by Charlotte’s love for holidays and decoration. 

The mystery in this story develops slowly while the reader is immersed in the lives of Jack and Charlotte, and the other residents of Christmas Town, and sets the scene for the next novella in the series. 

It’s an enjoyable and lighthearted read, yet with sufficient momentum to keep the reader keen for the next book in the series. 

‘Christmas Miracle on the 4th of July’ Has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here

Book Review: ‘Spring Fling’ by Claire Buss

A relatable, easy to read poetry collection.

‘Spring Fling’ offers vignettes of daily life and glimpses into the thoughts of a young woman. Her children, family life, personal feelings and places they visit all feature in this collection of poetry. 

Some of the poems carry a kernel of a deeper truth that provoked more thought, while others skip through a scene, describing it in a way that leaves the reader nodding and smiling. In every case, it is easy to relate to the ideas expressed by the poet. 

‘Spring Fling’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘I Wore Heels To The Apocalypse’ by CH Clepitt

A most enjoyable, quirky read.

‘I Wore Heels To The Apocalypse’ is a quirky and satirical twist on the post-apocalyptic genre. This is a most entertaining story, laced with Clepitt’s trademark humour, twisted storylines and highly memorable characters that are interesting, diverse, and well-developed.

I enjoyed this book as an audiobook, but it’s also available as a paperback or ebook.  The narration is excellent, adding depth and personality to the characters in a way that further developed the humour of the story itself.

‘I Wore Heels To The Apocalypse’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Series Review: The ‘Christmas Miracle’ series by R.M. Gauthier

A novella series that mystery lovers will not want to miss out on!

This series of mystery novellas by R.M Gauthier is lighthearted and refreshing, although not without complications and moments of tension.

Each of these short stories provides a lovely diversion from a busy day or week by drawing the reader into the fictional world of Christmas Town, where the spirit of the festive season lingers all year round. Each is short enough to read in one sitting, but long enough to conveniently put down at the end of a chapter and resume reading later.  They’re great stories for all year round, and certainly not limited to the seasons in which the titular seasons occur.

The main character, Jack, is well developed and quite likeable. The air of mystery that surrounds his arrival in town over summer is intriguing, and definitely hooks the reader into the story.  Gauthier cleverly plays on the unresolved questions he brings with him, drawing the reader further into the story at the same time as further entangling Jack with every development and surprise in the plot.

Charlotte is an intriguing character – she appears to be open and easily read, but there is always an understanding that there’s much more to her than meets the eye. As Jack is surprised to discover, she’s just the person to keep him guessing and on his toes.

Other characters enjoy more development as the series progresses, so the reader also has opportunities to see more of  Bill, Christian and Hope as they appear in the successive stories.

These novellas are a change of pace for R.M. Gauthier, who has also been featured on this blog as the author of the more psychological mystery thriller series featuring Landon Miller.Acorn Award I Golden

All of Gauthier’s books are available on Amazon, and are free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

The Christmas Miracle Series is available in a boxed set, or as individual titles.

This is definitely a Gold Acorn series that mystery lovers will not want to miss out on!