‘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.
It is no small feat to create a series of books that continues to interest and intrigue a reader over time and innumerable developments of plot and character. It should be recognised as a significant achievement, then, that this tenth title in Stanhope’s Elemental Witch Trials series is as riveting as the first.
This novel focuses on the connections between the central characters, but also those between the witches and vampires that readers of the series have come to know, and between the realms they rule and travel. Indeed, it seems that everything is connected to everything else, one way or another.
As new challenges arise to test their strengths and loyalties, The central characters are faced with almost impossible choices that must be made. The reader is also confronted by those trials, fully aware of the extreme difficulty and serious consequences of each one.
An intriguing and suspenseful read, ‘Timeless Trouble’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
The identity of Jack the Ripper remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of both Victorian England, and of the murky world of serial killers.
Maniscalco takes that mystery, envelopes it in the life and times of a fictional would-be forensic scientist, shrouds it with London fog, and hides it in a dark place where nobody thinks or dares to look.
‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ is a beautifully written blend of mystery, macabre horror and historical fiction that keeps the audience completely rivered as the story unfolds. Suspense builds from the time of the discovery of the first victim right up to the climax and conclusion.
The cast of characters is varied and complex, each with secrets and personal motivations that intrigue both the reader and one another. The way in which the author drops hints and suggestions is quite tantalising, adding another layer of mystery to the characters and their actions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The narration was fluent and well paced, and a pleasure to listen to.
I definitely plan to indulge in the sequel very soon.
‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
A powerful story, as terrifying as the true horrors of the historical events on which it is based.
There have been many horrors inflicted by humans on others in the last 500 years. Sean Wireman has witnessed them all.
‘Never Again’ is a paranormal exposition of the consequences of human hatred and cruelty.
The story is told from Sean’s perspective as both a witness and a sufferer of persecution, oppression and torture. The story is overwhelmingly dark and somber, but for those characters who bring light and relief into Sean’s life. The bleak and heavy tone of the writing suits the events of the story very well, yet the reader is aware that it is impossible for them to feel as weighted down by despair as Sean does.
The main character is both flawed and heroic and, although he is not human, the reader develops a strong affinity with his emotions and responses, particularly the passions that characterise him, and his anger and heartbreak, which are portrayed so vividly they are palpable.
The very powerful message of this novel is that the evil of the past must be resisted and put to an end. The horrors of the past must never be allowed to occur again. The reader is left in no doubt whatsoever that, like Sean, each of us must play our part in making that happen.
A gripping and often confronting read, ‘Never Again’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
‘Children of Darkness is a grim tale filled with foreboding and brooding suspense from which there is little relief. Even when the protagonist forces herself to relax, both she and the reader remain slightly tense with the sensation that the respite can only ever be fleeting.
Shockey builds the tension and darkness until it is almost tangible, then delivers blow after blow that suck the air from the reader’s lungs and keep them on the edge of their seat.
This is a very well crafted horror story that keeps the reader guessing right to the end.
‘Children Of Darkness’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
A great holiday read for anyone more interested in “boo” than “ho ho ho”… but definitely not for kids.
What if your most basic assumptions bout Santa turned out to be wrong?
Is he just a jolly old fat guy who delivers presents, or is there much, much more to his story?
Claudette Melanson presents a somewhat different version of Santa in these twelve stories, which are well-crafted and well told. There is some lovely connectivity between the stories, which is sometimes quite overt and at other times sneaks up on the reader and takes them by surprise.
This is a great holiday read for anyone more interested in “boo” than “ho ho ho”. Do take the title seriously, though: this book is definitely not for kids, as there is some quite graphic content.
‘The 12 Terrors of Christmas’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.