Book Review: ‘Wild Rose’ by Sherrie Hansen

‘Wild Rose’ continues the story of Pastor Ian MacCraig and the community of St Conan’s in Lochawe, Scotland, that began with Thistle Down. 

This is a lighthearted, often humorous and sometimes very poignant story of an unlikely meeting that unleashes an unpredictable series of events full of twists and turns.

While it is a romantic story, it’s also a story of human nature in which judgement and forgiveness feature prominently. It challenges the reader to think about their own perceptions of others, especially those who stand out from the crowd in one way or another.

There is some subtle adult content, so it’s not a book for young readers. That being said, that content is written with sensitivity, and is unlikely to offend adult readers.

‘Wild Rose’ is a most enjoyable read, and has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Book Review: ‘Thistle Down’ – Wildflowers of Scotland Book 1 by Sherrie Hansen

‘Thistle Down’ introduces Pastor Ian MacCraig of St Conan’s Kirk in Lochawe, Scotland, and the various members of the congregation and community in the village in a lighthearted and warm story of two very different sisters and their prospective wedding plans. 

The tone of the story is warm and familiar, aided by delightfully origina yet typically Scottish characters who speak with frankness and good humour. This book really does have the feel of one of those wonderful British TV series that one watches on a Saturday or Sunday evening, becoming immersed in a small community and the local goings on while getting to know all the neighbours. 

Being a novella-length read, it was easy to read in an afternoon, and provided a wonderful escape for a couple of hours. 

‘Thistle Down’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

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Book Review: ‘June Green Leaves Of Deceit: A Cat Collier Mystery’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

The sixth instalment in the Cat Collier mystery novella series continues the story of Cat, Carter, and their friends and family. As they say, the course of true love never runs smooth, and this phase of Cat’s life is no exception. 

Cat explores issues of integrity and honesty at a very personal level in this story, which encourages the reader to consider similar questions from their own perspective. 

Like all the others thus far in this series, this is a really enjoyable story.  While the tension and drama take a different direction than they have done previously, the integration of this story into the overall narrative is still fluent and seamless. 

In keeping with the rest of the series, this is a short read, comfortably finished in a little over an hour.  These stories all fit comfortably into an evening or a break in a busy day, providing an interesting and enjoyable distraction.

‘June Green Leaves Of Deceit’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

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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.

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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