A prequel to the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, this is a story that easily stands alone as a most excellent work of fantasy fiction. Sheldrake’s storytelling is as mesmerising as the songs of her minstrels, making this magical sword and sorcery fantasy for Young Adult and older readers a spellbinding tale that, once started, is hard to put down.
Magically and mystically gifted, Mya is a young woman like no other, Her story is one of adventure and friendship, of seeking and fulfilling her destiny, and one in which danger is always conspiring or lurking around one corner or another. She is a wonderful heroine – she is engaging and loveable, straightforward yet complex, and humble despite her abilities. Through the adventure and the challenges she faces, Mya does not only become more resilient and self-reliant, she learns to trust both her own instincts and the destiny to which she is called.
The cast of characters surrounding Mya is varied and interesting, each one portrayed in full colour and lively detail. The story is told with rich imagery and well-paced action that moves along at a very good pace.
Sheldrake is an author who should be much more widely read, as her books are highly original and hold enormous appeal for lovers of fantasy, adventure and coming of age stories alike.
‘Dragon’s Rock is an excellent kids’ mystery novel in which Lucy visits family in Wales and stumbles upon a series of clues relating to a local mystery.
Lucy and her cousin Bethan are delightful characters who demonstrate intelligence and integrity, and who are both creative and imaginative in their own ways. Both are engaging and positive role models for young readers.
The story is well written, structured so that the action progresses at a good pace, keeping the reader interested as the intrigue heightens. The inclusion of attractive images of Lucy’s fictional Instagram posts gives the book a very contemporary feel that readers will find relatable and appealing.
It is an ideal book for independent middle grade readers or for family reading, ‘Dragon’s Rock’ would make an excellent addition to family, school, and local library collections.
‘The Grimoire Prophecies’ is a YA paranormal romance story featuring Sophie Seymour, a high school senior who makes a likeable and engaging main character.
While some of Sophie’s challenges are specific to her own situation, others are highly relatable for most teens. As Sophie begins to discover that there is a lot more to the world around her than meets the eye, she is confronted by choices and decisions that she must make, regardless of how ill-equipped she feels to do so.
In the midst of her trying to reconcile the past and the present, Sophie’s senior school year is made far more interesting than anticipated by the arrival of a mysterious pair of twins. Readers with siblings will easily relate to the tension between Joshua and Ethan, which adds another layer of intrigue and complexity to the story.
As the story develops, the author infuses the narrative with a tantalising blend of anticipation and curiosity that draws the reader in and hooks them in the story, causing them to invest in Sophie’s dilemmas and develop hopes for her future and wellbeing.
The writing is good and the story is well paced. The end of the book leaves the reader keen for the next instalment in the series, and for answers to the questions that remain unresolved thus far.
This is a book with lots of appeal for readers of YA paranormal romance.
Suspenseful, dark, mysterious and occasionally macabre, ‘Dead Lake’ is a supernatural thriller set in and around a remote lake cabin.
The anticipation with which the story starts soon turns to foreboding which grows steadily more profound as the tale progresses.
Coates’ writing is enriched with vivid imagery that stimulates the reader’s senses and imagination, immersing them in the curiosity, and then the terror, experienced by Sam, the protagonist of the story. By the two-thirds point of the story, the fear and adrenaline is palpable and the suspense creates a strong sense of dread that is both compelling and distinctly uncomfortable.
Because of its suspense and brooding darkness, this is an excellent read that will appeal to readers of mystery, thrillers, and horror alike.
The third instalment in Hansen’s ‘Wildflowers of Scotland’ series, this book is a wonderful light romance read.
Infused with good humour and populated by diverse and interesting characters, it is a tale full of twists and turns and surprises that keep the reader engaged and guessing.
The narrative moves at a good pace, sweeping the reader along with Violet as she faces her challenges and her fears, albeit not always as wisely as one might hope.
Not only is ‘Shy Violet’ enormously entertaining, it also reminds the reader of the importance of honesty, the value of friendship, and the life-changing power of forgiveness.
This book, like the series to which it belongs, is highly recommended.
In ‘The Bone Witch’, there are two narratives which seem at first to be separate, but eventually reveal themselves to be interwoven to create a vast, rich tapestry of storytelling that binds the listener in its magic.
This magical dark fantasy is a spellbinding story in which fate and magic balance one another as Tea discovers her destiny and learns to use her powers and make important choices wisely.
The narrators tell the story fluently and engagingly, with clear diction and good expression. Both are pleasant to listen to, and the two complement each other as effectively as their stories do.
’The Bone Witch’ is a brilliant fantasy coming of age story, whether enjoyed as a novel or an audiobook.
This is an entertaining and interesting mystery story for kids that delivers positive messages about honesty, friendship and personal integrity.
October Jones is a likeable protagonist who kids will relate to easily. He is basically a good kid, but finds himself getting into trouble from time to time. Alongside his friends and his sister April, October takes it upon himself to solve a mystery and finds himself defending his own innocence at the same time.
This is a kids’ novel suitable for independent readers, or for families to read together. It would make an excellent addition to any family, town or school library.