Book Review: ‘Dyrwolf’ by Kat Kinney

‘Dyrwolf’ is a highly original and very compelling story of a young woman learning who she is and what matters most to her in the face of challenges and adversity. 

Lea Wylder is a complex and interesting character who has much to learn about trust, plagued as she is by questions of identity and loyalty, and caught up in the struggle for survival that encumbers the village in which she lives. Although she definitely has her flaws, her loyalty, resilience and integrity make her an admirable hero and a positive role model for teens and young adults, a demographic that is often confronted by questions and  issues similar to those explored in this book.

A very engaging and thought-provoking read that captivated me from the start, ‘Dyrwolf’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here. 

Audiobook Review: ‘The King’s Hounds’ by Martin Jensen

‘The King’s Hounds’ is a murder mystery set in Oxford during the reign of King Cnut. An unlikely duo, Winston and Halfdan form a friendship that is still in its early stages when they find themselves assigned the job of investigating the murder and reporting their findings to the king, a task complicated by an abundance of suspects and plenty of obstructions along the way. 

The reader is immersed in the sights and sounds of medieval England, culturally divided between those of Anglo-Saxon and Danish/Viking origins just as Cnut has come to the throne, which places the events of the story in the year of 1016. The resulting climate of distrust and resentment adds further difficulty and intrigue to the case: the king himself is not above suspicion in the death of a prominent Anglo-Saxon thane. 

The characters are very well developed, and are characterised effectively by the narrator. The contrast between the conservative Winston and the rogueish Halfdan creates some entertaining moments, but also enables each of them to play to his strengths when challenged by the various situations and problems they encounter. 

The story is interesting and entertaining, and quite well told. The dialogue is a little stilted at times and not quite consistent with the way people spoke during that period of history, but this may be accounted for by the fact that the book was translated from Danish into English. 

The narration by Napoleon Ryan is noticeably slow, but before I was far into the book, I began to feel that this was something of an advantage, because it gave me time to take in all the detail of the story. 

An enjoyable and interesting book, ‘The King’s Hounds’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

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Audiobook Review: ‘The White Russian Caper’ by Phyllis Entis


Damien and Millie return in the second instalment of the Damien Dickens mystery series, ‘The White Russian Caper‘ is a mystery adventure that takes the reader from Atlantic City to Hollywood— erm… Florida, in pursuit of the answers they are commissioned to find.

As in all good mysteries, there are plenty of viable suspects and some most intriguing complications and twists.

Tom Lennon delivers another excellent detective-noir style narration with clarity, easy pace, and very good characterisations of the various roles in the story.

Like the first in the series, this audiobook comes highly recommended, and has received a Gold Acorn.

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Book Review: ‘The Queen’s Poisoner’ by Jeff Wheeler

This is a fascinating story – the entirely original characters, locations and magical elements make it fantasy, yet it is overlaid on a foundation of elements of history in The Wars of the Roses and the life story of the English king Richard III. The way in which those historical elements are drawn upon and interwoven throughout the story and rich layers of complexity and interest to the story. The reader becomes deeply engaged in the story as it unfolds, particularly when the key characters are faced with danger or discovery.

The characters are vividly portrayed, crafted to engage the reader’s empathy for the protagonist, a young boy named Owen, and those who prove themselves his friends. There is also a good range of characters for whom the reader enjoys contempt and significant distrust— indeed, disliking them is actually a pleasurable experience.

The Audible narration of the book is clearly read and quite expressive, although occasionally sounds a little flat and stilted – perhaps in contrast to the great use of voice and tone to deliver effective characterisation when the characters speak. While this may cause trifling annoyance for the listener from time to time, it  did not prove to be an issue sufficient to really affect the listener’s enjoyment of the story itself. 

The first novel in what promises to be a most excellent and enjoyable series, The Queen’s Poisoner has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Fallen Prey’ by Aliya DalRae

This is the first book in Aliya DalRae’s new paranormal romance series featuring the vampires of the Fallen Cross Legion. 

‘Fallen Prey’ is the story of Harrier, a Vampire who spent most of his time as a side character in DalRae’s Jessica Sweet trilogy being aloof and gruff, and really only began to let his guard down toward the end of the third and novel in the series.  

DalRae’s characters are always interesting and complex, so the opportunity to delve deeper into the mysteries of one of the leading men of the Vampire Legion was most welcome. 

The highly original and well-paced plot takes the reader up close and personal with Harrier, developing his character and story more fully and extending the story of the Legion and it’s key members at the same time. 

While Harrier and Kythryn give the term ‘paranormal romance’ new meaning as the story unfolds, they find themselves immersed in situations filled with danger, action, and some moments of almost palpable tension between themselves and others. 

DalRae has also demonstrated her cleverness in the title! ‘Fallen Prey’. It is only when the reader is deep into the story that they realise just how meaningful and appropriate the title of the book is, on numerous levels. 

Even for loyal readers of Aliya DalRae’s books, it’s good advice to expect the unexpected. 

‘Fallen Prey’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here


Book Review: ‘The Skeletons of Birkbury’ by Diana J Febry

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to believe that the events of the past will remain there.

There are plenty of people in this book who are dealing with the ghosts and skeletons of the past, some with powerful and tragic consequences.

The Skeletons of Birkbury is a very enjoyable and well-constructed mystery story, set in a seemingly normal English village populated by believable characters, most of whom seem quite likeable and all of whom seek to keep up appearances of respectability.

Whose ghostly chickens are about to come home to roost? And which members of the community will fail to get out of the way as they do?

The Skeletons of Birkbury has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here

Audiobook Review: ‘Bound by a Dragon’ by Linda K Hopkins

I love a great story as much as anyone, but I also really enjoy it when a story makes me thing about important ideas that relate to life beyond the book, too.

‘Bound By a Dragon’ is a powerful story that tells of the dangers of prejudice and wilful ignorance, and of the difference that is made by accepting someone for what they are. This book demonstrates that prejudices are learned behaviours, incredibly hard to break once formed and bringing about significant consequences not just for the individual who holds them, but also for those on the receiving end.

In fact, it is fair to say that as the story progresses, the central character Keira is challenged to rethink many of her assumptions about people and the rules her society holds to so strongly. It is hard to learn to trust one’s instincts over what one has always been taught, and even more difficult to change others’ perceptions and understandings of the way things are in life. Through Keira’s challenges and discoveries, the reader is led to thinking about the assumptions we make and the misunderstandings we carry, and how they impact on our own lives and relationships.

Through Aaron’s experiences the reader is given lessons about individuality and self-acceptance, but also about accepting the things that happen in life and dealing with them in healthy ways.

These important themes and ideas are intricately woven together to create a book that is complex and thought-provoking at the same time as immersing the reader in a distant fantasy land and being wonderfully entertaining.

The plot and premise of this book are interesting and quite original, building intrigue and suspense with some well-constructed complications and twists to keep the reader engaged in the story.

The audiobook narration is expressive and fluent, and I really enjoyed the change of accent. I found it easy to understand every word, and appreciated the easy pace and rhythm of the narrative.

‘Bound by a Dragon’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

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