Although ‘Severn’ is book 9 in The Kingdom of Durundal series, there is absolutely nothing repetitive or predictable about this book. The author has cleverly and covertly woven discreet threads of the earlier narrative into this story, concealing the intricacy of the narrative until the story carries the reader to the well-crafted moment of revelation in which the connections and relationships become clear and crystallise.
This is a tale of strength and survival, of brotherhood and friendship, and of death and destiny. Different narratives interweave and blend together, keeping the reader fully engaged in Severn’s story. It is an enthralling story which moves at an exciting pace and is very hard to put down once started.
The cast of characters are varied and vibrant, with powerful and relatable motivations and interests. The settings are portrayed so vividly that the reader can almost feel the snap of the wind in their face or the crackle of a fire as it burns.
Turner’s craft as an author is so finely honed that readers who are new to this series can easily read ‘Severn’ as a standalone, and then enjoy the earlier books in the series without having received significant spoilers.
‘Severn’ is a highly recommended read.
This first book in the Elmwick Academy series delivers a refreshing change to the “you’re a witch, here’s a wand, there’s a school of magic” trope that has become so popular. It’s an excellent and highly original YA paranormal story that is engaging and interesting for YA and older readers alike.
‘Newcomer’ introduces Cami O’Brien, a 16 year old who faces a unique challenge: she already knows what her legacy and powers are, but she must learn to control and use them before they destroy her and everyone she cares about.
This is not just a story of challenge and magic, but also one of friendship and loyalty among unlikely allies.
Elmwick seems to be a town like any other, yet it is populated by a unique mix of people who reflect both their individual qualities and their family histories in their actions and motivations.
The writing is excellent and the story moves at a good pace. The story is unpredictable and exciting, delivering some most intriguing twists. The book finishes with sufficient resolution to be satisfying while leaving some questions to be answered in the next book in the series.
Part murder mystery, part personal journey, ‘Lonely Hearts Complex’ is an interesting and authentic read that immerses the reader in the lives of the Ruth, Riley and Marshall, residents of Tombora Springs.
The characters are diverse, likeable and engaging. Their personal stories keep the reader intrigued and maintain a good level of excitement and suspense as the narrative continues.
This book is comfortably read in a couple of hours and delivers a most enjoyable contemporary light mystery read.
The third book following ‘Webley and the World Machine’ and ‘Kip and the Grinders’ in Zachary Chopchinski’s Hall of Doors Steampunk adventure series is another action-packed, highly entertaining adventure story that features Adal, Arija and their friends Kip and Ypsilon as they negotiate a most challenging world full of dark creatures and even darker intentions.
Chopchinski yet again demonstrates his creativity and humour in his edgy writing, sassy dialogue, and the complexity of the settings and the creatures who inhabit them. This novel, while still full of adrenaline and suspense, also explores some of the characters’ personal issues and motivations, developing more maturity and thoughtfulness amongst the familiar snark and showmanship.
One distinct contrast to the first two books in the series is that there is some sexual content in this book that makes it less suitable for younger readers, and really making it an NA rather than YA novel.
A blend of steampunk and paranormal fantasy, ‘Kip and the Grinders’ is an original and suspenseful story that will keep readers intrigued and entertained.
Known as ‘the Kingmaker’, Ricard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, was one of the most influential Englishmen of his time.
Tony Riches’ ‘Warwick’ tells the story of Richard Neville’s life in this vivid and exciting tale full of intrigue, adventure and changing alliances during the time known as The Wars of the Roses.
What sets this novel apart is that the focus remains on Warwick rather than those vying to take the throne themselves, and reveals the political and personal complexity of Warwick’s motivations and actions. Riches successfully brings Warwick and those close to him to life, portraying him as far more than just the political strategist seen in historical accounts of the time.
The audio narration by Frazer Blaxland is clear, fluent, and highly expressive. This book delivers powerful storytelling, and makes for compelling and most enjoyable listening.
The first book in the Witches of Runesbury series featuring Scarlett Oliver, this is an excellent read.
This book offers a fresh and highly original combination of elements that are very popular among readers, yet have been made the author’s own with a unique setting, characters and storyline that are most intriguing and entertaining.
The book is very well written, and hard to put down once started. The narrative develops steadily and delivers some great twists that ensure the story is unpredictable and exciting.
Runesbury is populated by a variety of well-developed and complex character, some of whom the reader is clearly meant to love, and others who are obviously meant to be disliked and distrusted. There are some cleverly tailored red herrings amongst them for good measure, and they certainly help to keep the reader guessing.
All in all, this is a most enjoyable book and I look forward to reading more in the series.
This is a short Gothic story full of darkness and foreboding, portraying the worst of human nature as the twists reveal themselves.
Read in less than half an hour, this well-written story provides an intriguing escape that fits into any busy day.
Rather than a ‘whodunnit’ kind of mystery, this is a story about particular events of World War I and the consequences of those events for one English family.
Harriet McDougall is not a detective as such, but when she feels the need to find answers about her sons’ experiences in the war, she uses her intelligence, instincts and resourcefulness to investigate until she finds the resolution she seeks. Harriet is a sincere and kind woman whom readers will both like and admire.
The cast of characters is varied and interesting, adding colour, texture and some surprising twists and turns to the story.
This story is very interesting but also quite emotive and challenging, creating a profound effect on the reader. The narrative progresses at a good pace, drawing the reader deeper into Harriet’s quest and into her family as the story unfolds.
This is an excellent story for lovers of both historical fiction and mystery, but also for readers who value remembrance of the fallen.
When an amateur theatre company reunite for their 20th annual performance of Shakespeare’s’A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, one might expect they’d have their act together.
‘Midsummer’s Bottom’ immerses the reader in the lives of the actors, but also in the lives of the fey characters who are weary of seeing themselves represented in the troupe’s performances.
Like the play being performed, the story is an enjoyable romp through a glade in a forest, complicated by love, jealousy, and fey interference in the lives of humans.
This book is well-written and quite entertaining. The characters are varied and interesting, made complex by their desires and motivations, and intricately connected to both the play and one another’s lives.
Just how the plot will resolve keeps the reader guessing right to the end.
This book is recommended for readers aged 18 and over, as ‘Midsummer’s Bottom’ does contain some adult content, although not graphic or gratuitous.
‘A Song of Sixpence’ tells the story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, her marriage to Henry VII, and the lives of her siblings in the years after the death of Richard III.
The book has been well researched, filling in the spaces between known facts and recorded history with a well-constructed and very credible ‘what if?” story about the fate of her younger brothers, known as the Princes in the Tower. The author draws the reader into the lives of both Elizabeth and her younger brother Richard, using their perspectives to weave a rich tapestry of storytelling in which historical figures are fleshed out, consistently with what history tells us of them, yet taking on life once again, each with their own unique blend of different motivations, fears, flaws and strengths that make this story both compelling and engaging.
The narration by Alex Lee is very easy to listen to. Her reading is expressive and fluent, and her use of tone, voice and accent to achieve effective characterisation is consistently excellent.