Book Review: ‘Lavender Mist of May: A Cat Collier Mystery’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

‘The fifth novella in the Cat Collier mystery story continues the story of Cat and her fiancée Carter, while she investigates various matters as a private detective.

I really enjoyed this story, which is well paced and provides well developed, balanced moments of tension, drama and action as the narrative progresses.

In keeping with the rest of the series, this is a short read, comfortably finished in a little over an hour.

‘Lavender Mist of May’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Out Of Chaos’ by Elle Mott

‘Out Of Chaos’ is a compelling autobiographical read, written with honesty in a matter-of-fact style that makes reading this somewhat discomfiting story still a quite comfortable experience. 

The title of this book is no lie: it is a story of family dysfunction, homelessness, crime and abuse experienced by a young woman who had the strength to then reclaim and rebuild her life. It is a cautionary tale about how easy it can be to fall so far that it’s hard to get back up, but it is also a story that would give hope to anyone in similar situations.  

Mott neither glorifies the less-than-stellar choices and actions of her misguided youth nor begs for the reader’s pity as she tells her story, but does evoke a great deal of understanding and empathy in the reader as her life is pulled into a downward vortex from which she cannot escape. The moments of resolve and the decisive actions that Elle takes as a result position the reader to share her hope of a better life and to almost will her to make it work, despite the fact that they are reading the story in past tense. 

Despite the bleakness of its beginning and the despair encountered as the story continues, the overall tone and the message of this book are positive and life-affirming.

‘Out Of Chaos’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Audiobook Review: ‘The Book Of Abisan’ by CH Clepitt

Anyone who has read a book or two by CH Clepitt will understand that it is perfectly reasonable to expect that everything she writes is a ripping good yarn. ‘The Book Of Abisan’, in which contemporary fiction blends seamlessly with magical fantasy, is the kind of book that only reinforces that sort of assumption. It’s brilliant. 

The storytelling is well paced and infused with moments of humour that balance the action and intrigue of the plot. The storyline is original and interesting, and the suspense and tension are palpable as the mysteries and quests of the story emerge and interweave. 

The various settings contrast well with one another and serve to highlight the sense of strangeness the characters experience when they find themselves in a juxtaposed world. This also keeps the reader fully engaged in the story because there is nothing predictable about where the story might take them next… which is, of course, half the fun. 

The characters are varied and complex, each with personal motivations that drive their actions and decision making. There are some really wonderful characters who keep the reader invested in their personal stories as well as the tale overall, and others who are designed to be hateful and play that part very well. 

The Audible narration is very good, with excellent vocal control and variations in tone and voice that help to develop both plot and characterisation. The narrator’s voice is pleasant and her diction clear, although she does say “somethink” instead of “something”, which is the one minor thing that bothered me during this audiobook experience. Apart from that, Alicia Rose is pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. 

This highly engaging and absorbing story has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

‘The Book Of Abisan’ is available as either an audiobook or a novel

Book Review: ‘April Yellow Moon’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

This fourth Cat Collier mystery story continues the narrative of the relationship between Cat and Carter, which is yet again complicated by the situations which Cat finds herself investigating. 

‘April Yellow Moon’ is a good story. While not quite as suspenseful or dramatically tense as the previous stories in the series have been, the author draws the reader into Cat’s life and has them holding their breath, waiting to see what happens next, on more than one occasion.

In keeping with the rest of the series, this is a short read, comfortably finished in less than 90 minutes. 

Enjoyable and intriguing, ‘April Yellow Moon’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Read my reviews of January Black Ice, February White Lies and March Blues.

Book Review: ‘Murder By The Book’ by Devorah Fox

‘Murder By The Book’ is a short story with all the ingredients of a good murder mystery. There are plenty of suspects, a handsome cop and a clever amateur sleuth with a love of mystery novels and a keen eye for details.

It’s an enjoyable story that can be read in about half an hour, so it fits perfectly into a lunch break or a quiet spot in the day.

‘Murder By The Book’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Servants’ by Janine Pestel

‘The Servants’ is a short story about an obnoxious woman for whom things go horribly wrong when she forgets that good staff are not easily replaced. 

Through her attitudes and actions, the reader is positioned to dislike Madeline from the very moment they meet her.  When things turn on her, the reader is left with a sense of smug satisfaction that takes the edge off the quite macabre conclusion to the story. 

‘The Servants’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘The Feels’ by Vanessa Ravel

‘The Feels’ is a gripping psychological thriller that explores ideas of guilt, secrecy, and vengeance through the experiences of Ariel, the protagonist of the story, and her interactions with those close to her as the story progresses.

Ariel is a complex and deeply flawed character, yet one for whom the reader develops a strong sense of empathy because the story is told from her perspective, Her thoughts and feelings are communicated powerfully, creating vivid images in the reader’s mind and evoking strong emotional responses.

The story also provides a fascinating study of a mind corrupted by both mental illness and indulgence in evil, through the thoughts and actions of the antagonist. This adds a dimension of psychological horror that leaves the reader aghast at the extent of the destruction caused by a depraved mind.

The story remains unpredictable and suspenseful throughout, keeping the reader guessing right to the end with plenty of complications and heart-in-the throat moments.

‘The Feels’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here