In a marketplace where there are fairy tale revisions aplenty, ‘Eye of the Beholder’ is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that stands out from the masses because of the author’s highly original recreation of roles and the devices by which the key events take place.
Like the original fairy tale, this is a story of looking beyond appearances to see the real person. The author has added some original magical twists that make the tale interesting and less predicated, resulting in a very entertaining read that can be enjoyed in the space of an hour.
Written with Clepitt’s usual quirky style and wit, this is a story with definite appeal to YA and older readers.
‘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.
‘Perverse’ is a collection of poems and short fiction that exhibit the broad and diverse range of writing talent of Tim Walker, author of the excellent Light In The Dark Ages historical fiction series.
Walker’s poetry offers insights and reflections on the trials, triumphs and unexpected twists of life. The poet offers a somewhat jaded but also grateful perspective that reminds the reader that as hard as life can be, it’s still worth living.
The collection also includes a number of dribbles and short stories that showcase the author’s gift for storytelling in prose form. Each story is interesting and uniquely twisted to surprise the reader, and the underlying cynicism and dark humour add depth and most appealing irony to some of the stories.
Much like the proverbial box of chocolates, this book is full of different textures and flavours, but there is definitely something that will suit the tastes of each different reader. While the subject matter and reflective depth of the poetry makes it more likely to be appreciated by readers who have lived and lost a little, the prose will appeal to a wider audience.
Overall, this is a thought-provoking and enjoyable collection that offers a range of short reads that can fill in a short break one at a time, or colour a whole afternoon of reading and reflection.
‘A Dark Covenant’ is a Gothic horror short story filled with foreboding and dramatic tension, embellished with macabre scenes that cause the reader to hold their breath and open their eyes just that little bit wider as they read.
The writing is evocative, subtly appealing to the reader’s senses while appearing to tell the story in a quite straightforward fashion. The terror of the climax is heightened by the profound contrast with the main character’s indifference toward his situation, and with the pathos of his childhood experiences.
This outstanding short read demonstrates not only the author’s versatility, but also her ability to draw extraordinary horror stories out of the most ordinary of circumstances.
This collection of intriguing and mysterious Steampunk-style speculative short stories offers a good variety of settings and situations in which the reader is immersed as the tales develop.
The writing is evocative and richly textured. Some of these stories are full of brooding darkness and macabre imagery, creating a powerful contrast with the ironic humour and hopeful adventure that pervades the final story.
These stories are just the right size to enjoy one at a time during breaks in a busy day, and varied enough to maintain the reader’s interest when read in one sitting.
There is some adult content, so this is not a suitable book for younger readers, but it is a most enjoyable and diverting read for grownups.
Choosing to be an independent or self published author is both immensely satisfying and incredibly challenging. One of the biggest problems Indie authors face is getting their books seen and noticed by readers.
This book is a short but enormously insightful guide designed to help Indie authors find their audience. As helpful as this little gem of a book is about what people can do to reach out to readers, it is equally enlightening about why some social media strategies simply don’t work.
There is some excellent advice about how to both create and tailor groups and pages to suit particular audiences, and about making those things consistent with branding and style so that content is focused and recognisable to audiences. Above all, the book maintains a very positive and deliberate focus ion making content and interactions genuine and meaningful, and how that can be achieved.
The writing is straightforward and easily understood, and the content of the book is organised into seven cohesive modules that each address one aspect or problem authors experience in the complex and often very muddy world of social media marketing.
‘Build Your Tribe on Facebook’ is a no-nonsense guide to doing exactly that. Even though it is aimed at authors, it is a book that independent consultants, network sellers, Indie creatives and people involved in small business would benefit greatly from reading.
Readers of horror who want a top quality short read will be well pleased by this dark and twisted short story, which can easily be enjoyed during a coffee or lunch break.
Doyle’s writing is always easy to read and her characters realistic and relatable. That dreadful things can happen to ordinary people is an underlying premise that enables a great horror story to evoke shock and fear in its readers, who are invariably aware of the fact that such things could happen to anyone. When the story takes an unexpected turn, it heightens the anticipation of what is to come and the fear of the unknown.
It is in these elements of the story that Doyle successfully manages to immerse her readers in a situation, turn it around, and leave them gasping, all within the space of just a few minutes.
A dark and suspenseful story in which foreboding builds gradually until the truths underlying the story are revealed.
This story is evocatively written in a way that draws the reader into the life and mind of the central character as the innocence and natural curiosity of childhood are discarded and replaced by the bleakness of hindsight and the passion of revenge.
‘The House That Evil Made’ is a 10-15 minute read that can be enjoyed over a coffee break or in a few spare minutes, providing a quick but satisfying escape to the reader’s day.
This book presents three Victorian-style short stoeies featuring Viola Stewart at different phases of her life – one as a child, two as an adult. Throughout, she is clever, vivacious and scientifically minded, creating a sense of positive connection and admiration in the reader’s mind. It is easy to see how the young girl with a toy dirigible grew into the optician with a scientist’s eye for detail.
The second and third stories explore mysterious circumstances that occur, with the investigations falling to Viola and her friend, Dr Henry Collins.
The stories are interesting and entertaining, leaving the reader keen to know more of Viola Stewart.