Golden Squirrel Awards 2019

Book Squirrel has read and reviewed some fantastic books this year. While not every book can receive an award, Book Squirrel presented the third annual Golden Squirrel Awards to books in twenty different genres across a variety of age ranges, interests and styles on December 31st, 2019.

Just to make it clear, this is not a contest that people can vote on. This is an entirely subjective and preference-driven selection process. Book Squirrel knows what he likes, and that’s what he reads. When he reads, he always leaves a review. And here on the Book Squirrel blog, he awards gold, silver or bronze acorns instead of a star rating system. 

At the end of the year, he chooses the best of the books he has read and reviewed, and gives some nice shiny awards to the wonderful authors who entertained and enlightened him in the past twelve months. 

You can be sure that the winners of Golden Squirrel Awards are excellent reads, and worthy of recognition. 

Click on the awards below to navigate to the Book Squirrel review of each book.

And the winners are…

Book of the Year!

Best Children’s Book: 

Best YA  Fantasy:

Best YA Paranormal

Best YA Sword and Sorcery:

Best Audiobook: 

Best Contemporary:

Best Cozy Mystery:

Best Fairy Tale:

Best Fantasy:

Best Historical Fiction:

Best Holiday Themed Book:

Best Horror:

Best LGBTQ+ Book:

Best Mystery:

Best Non-Fiction:

Best Paranormal:

Best Science Fiction:

Best Short Story:

Best Steampunk:

Best Urban Fantasy:

Congratulations to all the winners!

Christmas Reading Recommendations

Ranging from children’s books to Yuletide horror and everything in between, I’ve squirrelled away the best in Indie Christmas Reads for you.

The books presented here have all been reviewed on this blog either last Christmas or this year.

Clicking on a book cover will take you to the review and its relevant links.

Christmas also features heavily in R.M. Gauthier’s Christmas Miracle series, in which the stories take place in Christmas Town, USA at different times of the year.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day Book Recommendations

In honour of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, here are three great pirate tales for your reading pleasure. 

Fallen Into Bad CompaNy’ by Kayla Jindrich

Matthew wants nothing more than to escape from his past, but that hardly seems possible with his new apprentice. While William might be Matthew’s chance at redemption, an opportunity to pay for his mistakes, William also has a reckless streak that could ruin the new life that Matthew has built for himself. Either Matthew will pull William from piracy, or William will drag Matthew back into the dangerous world that they both come from.

Read my book review of ‘Fallen Into Bad Company’ here.

Ghosts of the Sea Moon’ by A.F. Stewart

In the Outer Islands, gods and magic rule the ocean. Under the command of Captain Rafe Morrow, the crew of the Celestial Jewel ferry souls to the After World and defend the seas from monsters. Rafe has dedicated his life to protecting the lost, but the tides have shifted and times have changed. 

His sister, the Goddess of the Moon, is on a rampage and her creatures are terrorizing the islands. The survival of the living and dead hinge on the courage and cunning of a beleaguered captain and his motley crew of men and ghosts. 

What he doesn’t know is that her threat is part of a larger game. That an ancient, black-winged malevolence is using them all as pawns… 

Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.

Brotherhood of the Black Flag’ by Ian Nathaniel Cohen

“Cohen delivers a solid, compelling, and briskly paced story that blends adventure and romance within a rich historical setting.” — The BookLife Prize

Thrills, romance, and high-seas swashbuckling adventure await in the Golden Age of Piracy’s final reckoning!

His once-promising naval career in tatters, Michael McNamara leaves the newly-United Kingdom behind in search of a new life. With no other skills but the sword, he joins forces with a pirate turned pirate hunter, determined to rid the Caribbean of the Brotherhood of the Black Flag once and for all.

Eager for a worthy cause to fight for, McNamara pits himself against treacherous seas and battle-hardened buccaneers… and uncovers an international conspiracy that threatens the lives of thousands.

I’m currently reading this book, and really enjoying it. Look out for my review, coming soon!

Spooktober Reads

Halloween Book Recommendations.

Promo Spooktober 2_edited-1

Book squirrel has a great collection of books for Halloween reading at
Book Squirrel’s Spooktober Reads. 

Ranging from creepy suspense to full-blown horror, these are some of the best Halloween reads around.

Stake Out by Lily Luchesi.

Lily Luchesi Stake Out

YA Paranormal.

In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge.

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Lac Du Mort and Other Stories by Joanne Van Leerdam

Lac Du Mort 6x9

Macabre/horror.

From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.

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Tunnels by P.J. Blakey-Novis.

Peter Blakey-Novis Tunnels

Horor.

From the author of Embrace the Darkness, Tunnels takes you on six terrifying journeys full of terror and suspense.

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Beyond by Alanah Andrews

Alanah Andrews Beyond

Dark fiction.

The future, ghosts, aliens, surprising twists, murder, love and beyond…

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Truly Unfortunate by C.A. King

C.A. King Truly Unfortunate

Dark Fantasy/Horror.

Which is stronger… the boundaries of reality or the safety on one’s own mind?

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The Dowling House by A Drew

A Drew The Dowling House

Horror/macabre.

An unseen world, where one just might discover the secrets that exist there, may be better off left to rot.

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Of Nightmare Realities by Toneye Eyenot

Toneye Eyenot Of Nightmare Realities

Horror.

Delirium and psychosis are beginning to set in. Are these visions real? Or merely the hallucinatory projections of your sleep-deprived mind?

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Road To Terror by S.K Gregory

SK Gregory Chills 1 Road to Terror

Horror/Suspense.

Aria is running from something she can’t quite remember.

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The Celtic Curse: Banshee by D.J Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Banshee

Horror/Ghosts/Folklore.

A young gypsy woman is murdered for falling in love with the son of an Irish clan leader. She curses the men responsible and their bloodline.

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Reaper’s Folly by Nikki Landis

Nikki Landis Reapers Folly

Horror/Dark Fantasy.

Anchored in Hell, in the dark Underworld, one tarnished soul has become captive to the Darkness.

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Fear Of The Dark by Mark Woods

Mark Woods Fear of the Dark

Horror.

Sometimes it’s not the dark you should be afraid of… it’s what’s hiding in it.

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The Nightmare by Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan The Nightmare

Horror/Gothic

Seven cleverly crafted tales of gothic and contemporary horror to keep you awake at night.

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The Coven Princess by Lily Luchesi

Lily Luchesi The Coven Princess

Horror/Fairy Tale adaptation.

Your blood does not define you.

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Curious Times by Joanne Van Leerdam.

Curious Times eBook

Horror/dark humour.

Friday, the magical black cat with a devilish sense of justice, returns in a second collection of macabre and darkly humorous stories.

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Do Not Open Until Halloween by C.A. King

C.A. King Do Not Open Until Halloween

Dark Fantasy/Horror.

In this young adult fantasy, award-winning author, C.A. King, explores the answer to one of the questions readers have always wanted to ask… Where do fairies come from?

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Flash of Darkness by Toneye Eyenot

Toneye Eyenot Flash of Darkness

Horror.

Five flashes of terror to torment your mind…
Allow Eyenot to drag you through the darkness.
You may never find your way back to the light.

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A Flash of Light by S.K Gregory

S.K. Gregory Chills and Thrills 3

Creepy/Paranormal.

A Chills and Thrills Tale #3

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The Celtic Curse: Newgrange by D.J Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Newgrange

Horror/Suspense.

The Celtic Curse: Newgrange is a highly original and often macabre tale crafted from strands of legend, religion, ancient culture, sex, superstition, loyalty and friendship.

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Pieces of Heaven by Nikki Landis

NIkki Landis Pieces of Heaven

Horror/Paranormal.

A Haunted Horror of Visceral Regrets.

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Arachnattack by Mark Woods

Mark Woods Arachnattack

Horror.

What IS Project 26? They called it the summer of spiders…

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Death Comes Calling by Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan Death Comes Calling

Gothic horror.

Death comes calling and decides to stay. A selection of dark fiction for lovers of gothic horror.

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Series Review: The ‘Christmas Miracle’ series by R.M. Gauthier

A novella series that mystery lovers will not want to miss out on!

This series of mystery novellas by R.M Gauthier is lighthearted and refreshing, although not without complications and moments of tension.

Each of these short stories provides a lovely diversion from a busy day or week by drawing the reader into the fictional world of Christmas Town, where the spirit of the festive season lingers all year round. Each is short enough to read in one sitting, but long enough to conveniently put down at the end of a chapter and resume reading later.  They’re great stories for all year round, and certainly not limited to the seasons in which the titular seasons occur.

The main character, Jack, is well developed and quite likeable. The air of mystery that surrounds his arrival in town over summer is intriguing, and definitely hooks the reader into the story.  Gauthier cleverly plays on the unresolved questions he brings with him, drawing the reader further into the story at the same time as further entangling Jack with every development and surprise in the plot.

Charlotte is an intriguing character – she appears to be open and easily read, but there is always an understanding that there’s much more to her than meets the eye. As Jack is surprised to discover, she’s just the person to keep him guessing and on his toes.

Other characters enjoy more development as the series progresses, so the reader also has opportunities to see more of  Bill, Christian and Hope as they appear in the successive stories.

These novellas are a change of pace for R.M. Gauthier, who has also been featured on this blog as the author of the more psychological mystery thriller series featuring Landon Miller.Acorn Award I Golden

All of Gauthier’s books are available on Amazon, and are free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

The Christmas Miracle Series is available in a boxed set, or as individual titles.

This is definitely a Gold Acorn series that mystery lovers will not want to miss out on!

Book Review: ‘Father Winter’ by Eric Tanafon

This Yule story is fantastic in both senses of the word. In ‘Father Winter’, Eric Tanafon takes the reader on a magical journey to the Great White North in which ancient mysteries and secrets of life are revealed.

This Yule story is fantastic in both senses of the word. In ‘Father Winter’, Eric Tanafon takes the reader on a magical journey to the Great White North in which ancient mysteries and secrets of life are revealed.

Eric Tanafon Father Winter

I chose this book because I enjoyed Tanafon’s ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ so much. I was delighted to discover another gem that I could treasure. Once again, I found the author’s writing is so expressive and evocative that the story played like a film in my mind as I was reading, especially the northern night scenes.

The characters are beautifully crafted and seem to spring to life off the page. Connor is a troubled teen and Holly his younger sister who just wants Connor to be on Father Winter’s “good” list. Through their respective journeys, they encounter a variety of people and creatures who help them to discover and achieve what they need to, each in their own different way.

Golden Acorns

I can’t recommend this book highly enough for any day of the year, but especially for December reading.
I’ve given it a delicious Gold Acorn.

‘Father Winter’ is available on Amazon.

Book Squirrel: Going Nuts Over Halloween Reads

Spooky horror treats for Halloween. Who needs candy?

#books #Halloween2017

 

There are some absolutely spooktacular horror reads available this Halloween. 

Of course, we all know they’re great to read any day of the year, but I thought I’d share some great collections with you, curated by some of the authors that Book Squirrel has featured previously.

NIKKI LANDIS has compiled a brilliant collection of horror reads in her most recent newsletter.
Many of these books are on a 99c special price for Halloween.

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Nikki has also made a fantastic offer – buy three books from her newsletter, and she’ll give you your choice of one of her books absolutely free.

 

JOANNE VAN LEERDAM has a number of spooky and dark reads for free at WordyNerdBird Writes.

Promo Spooktober 1

On offer are some chilling poems and a series of stories about Friday, a black cat with a penchant for curious events. 

Promo Friday Stories copy
Friday’s stories will be available to read for free until November 3rd.

Van Leerdam is also the author of The Silver Feather, a haunting, macabre tale which was featured here as a new release earlier this month.  It’s on sale until November 1st for 99c in your favourite digital store. and is also available as a paperback via Amazon.

Promo The Silver Feather Eerie Tree

 

LILY LUCHESI and fifteen other authors have just released Damsels of Distress, an anthology featuring strong female leads that should never be underestimated.
It’s on sale right now for just 99c, and is incredibly good value.

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PETER BLAKEY-NOVIS has been sharing 31 Days of Horror on his blog at Embrace The Darkness.  He has featured a number of excellent novels, novellas, and blogs in his listing.

 

So, plenty of spooky and horrific treats for Halloween. Who needs candy? Go nuts!