Book Review: ‘Sylvermoon Chronicles VII’ by the Confederacy of the Quill

This anthology – the seventh in the Sylvermoon Chronicles series – is an outstanding collection of science fiction, fantasy and  horror short stories by authors who are most accomplished at their craft. 

The stories range from angels to demons and wraiths, futuristic worlds to fantasy lands, and scenes laden with terror to deep inner conflicts and fears. Each one is powerfully written, able to immerse the reader in a situation that demands and consumes their attention from the outset.  

The stories are, without exception, quite excellent. 

The diversity and variety between the stories ensure that the reader is always engaged and interested, While there were definitely stories that I enjoyed more than others, that is purely a matter of personal preference.

Sylvermoon Chronicles VII has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘A Sprig Of Holly’ by J.A. Clement

A delightful tale full of winter magic.

This is a delightful tale full of winter magic with well developed fairy tale qualities that enrich the story telling.

While the characters are not very complex, they are likeable and engaging, and the reader does develop a sense of empathy and concern for them at the beginning of the story that helps to hook them into the events of the tale.  Of course, it is a short story, so the characters are not required to be developed in any depth or detail. It is enough that they do what they do and that the story is beautifully told.

The story also has some lovely Yuletide elements, although not so much that it is only a story for the Christmas season. 

This would be a lovely story for family reading, particularly on a winter’s night. 

‘A Sprig Of Holly’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

There are more stories in this series, which I’m keen to read!

Book Review: ‘The 12 Terrors of Christmas’ by Claudette Melanson

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. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology

A great collection for Holiday reading.

The Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology is a wonderful family-friendly collection of holiday themed short stories that embrace diversity and explore a variety of ways in which different families and individuals celebrate Christmas.

Each of these stories and poems gives a different perspective that encourages the reader to consider a different point of view to their own, and provides an opportunity for reflection as well as entertainment. 

The stories in this book are written for readers of varying age groups, and so provide some lovely opportunities for family reading and sharing together. 

I very much enjoyed the two afternoons I spent reading these stories, and am pleased to award this book a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Twelve Tales of Christmas’ by Jane Jago

A highly recommended Christmas short story collection.

Jane Jago is a gifted writer who creates vivid and believable characters and drops them into situations that the reader finds engaging and relatable.  Many of these stories are laced with Jago’s trademark wit, while others are quite sobering.

‘Twelve Tales of Christmas’ delivers varied and excellent short stories, each set at Christmas time, each with its own theme and messages.

These well-written stories are entertaining and thoughtprovoking at the same time, long enough to fully engage the reader, and short enough to be enjoyed in snatched breaks in the very busy pre-Christmas season. 

This collection comes highly recommended, and has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

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Book Review: ‘Tales From The Seaside’ by Claire Buss

A varied and enjoyable collection of short stories.

Claire Buss Tales from the SeasideExcursions to the beach. Excursions on a bus. Excursions of the imagination.
All complex. All expressive and thought-provoking.
Each one will take you somewhere different.

Some of these pieces are fictional, others are more observant reflections on the author’s own experiences. Readers will find them all quite relatable and realistic in their portrayal of the lives of ordinary people. Subtly embedded beneath the surface of many of these stories is a layer of quite incisive social commentary that turns the lens back on the society in which we live.The stories are long enough to explore an interesting idea, and short enough to fit comfortably into a break in a busy day or enrich an evening before bed.

Acorn Award II Silver

Enjoyable and refreshing in its variety and depth, ‘Tales From The Seaside’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Series Review: The ‘Dragonhall Chronicles’ by Mirren Hogan

A beautifully written and evocative fantasy series.

‘The Dragonhall Chronicles’ consist of three novellas that introduce Hogan’s ‘Reasoner Trilogy’ that takes place in the same world.

Nerra’s Flight’ introduces Nerra, a young adult magin, living in a world in which even the ability to use magic is punishable by death, and tells of her attempt to escape those who would punish her for her abilities. Dragons, suspense and adventure await! The story is engaging and interesting, and the reader quickly warms to both Nerra and her sister. It’s a brief but enchanting introduction to this series of stories, of which I am definitely keen to read more.

More suspenseful than the first novella, ‘Nerra’s Run’ picks up the tale some years later. Children with magical abilities are still being captured and killed, and the authorities are still pursuing Nerra. The author establishes a strong sense of foreboding that continues to build as the story develops. Older and still determined to defy those who want her captured and killed, Nerra remains a character whose bravery and determination are admirable, and with whom the reader can sympathise strongly. She is developed with additional depth in this story in ways which both increase the reader’s affection and support for her, and fill them with anxiety for her future.

The third short story of the Dragonhall prequels to Dragonhaze, ‘Nerra’s Children’ is darker and more sobering than the others. The magin are still being persecuted and put to death, and Nerra faces challenges more heartbreaking than ever before. Although older and less impulsive, Nerra remains the strong, loyal woman that we have seen her become in her first two stories.
Mirren Hogan Reasoner 1 Dragonhaze

The action in each story moves at a steady pace, carrying the reader along as the tension rises.
By the time the reader finishes this third instalment, they are familiar with Nerra and her world, and keen to discover more in the pages of Dragonhaze, the novel that starts the Reasoner Trilogy.

Acorn Award I Golden
This beautifully written and evocative fantasy series has been awarded a Gold Acorn for overall excellence in storytelling.

Find this series, and other excellent books by Mirren Hogan, on Kobo, Amazon, Nook, and other stores.