March Reading List Challenge.

I am proud to announce to the world that I read all the books on my list for February, plus an extra one because I was so excited about its arrival early in the month!

So, onto the Reading List Challenge for March…

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I am proud to announce to the world that I read all the books on my list for February! I also read an extra one – Twice Born – because I was so excited about its arrival early in the month!

These books have all been read and reviewed on the Book Squirrel blog during the month of February. What’s even better is that they were all fabulous!

The Mages’ Stones, Reclamation, Twice Born and The Rainbow Serpent each received 5/5 stars – and ‘Call of Kythshire’ was so good, it received 6!

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It’s not that I give five stars terribly easily. It’s probably more a case of having selected absolutely superb books to read and review.

So, onto the Reading List Challenge for March. 
Remember, the link will take you conveniently to the Amazon page to preview and buy the book. 

This month, in no particular order, I plan to read:

‘Call of Sunteri’ and ‘Snowberry Blossom’ by Missy Sheldrake.
This is the next novel and a short story that follows it by the author of ‘Call of Kythshire’, so I know these are going to be great.

‘An Enlightening Quiche’ by Eva Pasco.
This promises to be a delicious tale of rivalry and bad behaviour. Bring it on!

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‘Christmas Miracle in July’ and ‘Christmas Miracle on Valentine’s Day’ by  R.M. Gauthier.

These twin novellas blend humour, small-town life and unexpected romance. I wonder, though, if the romance is the only thing that will take the reader by surprise? I suspect not.

 


‘Souls Discovered’ by Miranda Brock.
Fantasy, adventure, mythical beasts and a quest. It already sounds like a winner to me!

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For an extra challenge:‘Nova’ by Joanne Van Leerdam.
Your assignment: read it and let us know what you think! Write a review!

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Book Review: ‘Call of Kythshire’ – Missy Sheldrake

Holy moly. I started this book with absolutely no idea what was going to happen to me as I read it. Now that I have finished it, I find that I am completely and utterly in love with the characters and places that I encountered in this magical, mystical fantasy tale that has woven its tendrils around my heart.

It’s taking most of my will-power to write a missy-sheldrake-1review before I pick up the second book. And that’s not the worst of it. I have work to do. And there are other things I have committed to read.  Drat you, Missy Sheldrake! Because of you, I am in the clutches of a bona-fide “I don’t want to adult,  I want to stay in the world of the book” dilemma. It’s a very good thing  for us both that there are sequels!

The first book in the “Keepers of the Wellspring” series, ‘Call of Kythshire’ is completely enchanting. It  has been on my TBR list for a while, looking completely innocent and unassuming while sitting on the shelf, but as soon as I opened it, my fate was sealed.

Missy Sheldrake began to work her magic on me from the first chapter, drawing me in until I was fully invested in the journey that my imagination and emotions were being taken on. It’s a beautifully crafted quest through faraway lands that become very real and much closer to our own world as one reads, accompanied by some of the most feisty and determined yet loveable characters I have ever met. I travelled with them, stood by them as they faced challenges from others who sought to misuse their powers, and encouraged them to conquer their differences and internal conflicts to overcome them. I’m not even sure I would have made all the same decisions, but then I remember Rian’s words: ” “Who are we to decide who’s worth saving and who’s worth punishing? What would you have done in such a desperate situation? Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t do everything in your power to help the ones you love?” and I know he is right.

Reader, beware. You will get hooked, and there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it. Except read the next in the series, that is.


Big News! As it turns out, and completely unknown to me until I had already written this review, book #4 comes out on Friday, March 3! On that day, the first three ebooks of this series will be ABSOLUTELY FREE on Amazon! It’s true!

There’s also a short story, ‘Snowberry Blossom’, that fits between books 2 and 3 of the tetralogy.

You can see for yourself on Missy Sheldrake’s own blog, which you should probably follow because you’re probably going to end up being a huge fan, just like me.

Book Review: ‘Twice Born’ by T.J. Green

If, like me, you’ve never quite got over the fact that there won’t be anymore books featuring one Harry Potter, you should turn your attention to two books by T.J. Green: ‘Tom’s Inheritance’ and ‘Twice Born’.

If, like me, you’ve never quite got over the fact that there won’t be anymore books featuring one Harry Potter, you should turn your attention to two books by T.J. Green: ‘Tom’s Inheritance’ and ‘Twice Born’.

‘Twice Born’ is the brilliant sequel to ‘Tom’s Inheritance‘, but would work equally well as a standalone novel. It’s a wonderful story that explores the age-old theme of the battle between good and evil, and yet the complexities and motivations of the characters give ‘Twice Born’ a completely original and most enchanting story.

T.J. Green has infused this novel with a richness of magic, myth and adventure that is hard to adequately describe. The reader is drawn into this story so completely that one loses track of time and place while reading.

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It’s wonderful to travel through The Other with King Arthur, Merlin and Nimue as well as Green’s original characters in Tom, Beansprout, Woodsmoke and Brenna.
As a reader, I felt protective of key characters when they were in danger and rejoiced with them in their victories. Naturally, I was sad when I realised the end was coming, so I tried to read it slower to make it last just a little longer.

Green also demonstrates her skill in world-building and fantasy in the variety of different realms she has created, and in the people and creatures who inhabit them. The scenes created in this book are full of marvellous sights, rich sounds and incredible experiences that the reader feels as though they are sharing with the characters.

I do believe that if I, like Tom and Beansprout, were given a chance to live in The Other forever, I’d jump at the opportunity.

It’s a wonderful, magical place, and I’m thankful to T.J. Green for taking me there twice.

Now, I’m just hoping for another book in the series. Please don’t disappoint me, Ms Green!
Five shiny stars for ‘Twice Born’.

 

Book Review: El Dorado 1 & 2 by Ben Hammott

Reading these books made me feel like I was on an Indiana Jones adventure, with a bit of King Solomon’s Mines thrown in for good measure. I cannot recommend these books highly enough.

History and the present intertwine in this ripping yarn of adventure and adversity deep in the Amazon jungle. This is an absolutely fantastic story in which Ben Hammott has crafted an ingenious tale full of great characters, all of whom are likeable but not necessarily always good people.

The story hooks readers with the mysteries of the past and legends of treasure, and then connects to them through the descendants of the original adventurers.

From that point on, this pair of books takes the reader on a journey through rough terrain, down treacherous rivers, and territory inhabited by previously unknown tribes.

Reading these books made me feel like I was on an Indiana Jones adventure, with a bit of King Solomon’s Mines thrown in for good measure. It had plenty of heart-in-your-throat moments, a tantalising amount of mystery and intrigue, and some really engaging characters and dialogue to keep the story moving.
5 stars for this great book that would suit any reader from YA upwards.

I cannot recommend these books highly enough.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy the books individually, or as a set at a discounted price, which 616ai5ervgl-_ux160_
is how I bought them. They’re fantastic reading, so indulge yourself and get both!

 

 

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Author Spotlight: Aliya DalRae

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Aliya DalRae is the author of the Jessica Sweet paranormal romance/mystery books, consisting of novels and short stories that complement them.

‘Sweet Vengeance’ and ‘Sweet Discovery’ are the first two novels of a trilogy.

 

The third book of the trilogy is already highly anticipated by fans of ‘Sweet Vengeance’ and ‘Sweet Discovery’. You can be sure the Book Squirrel is busting his chops waiting to sink his teeth into that one, too!

‘Bittersweet’ tells the back story of Malcolm, frequently identified as one of the most popular characters in the novels.

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These books deliver a fabulous blend of magic, vampires, shifters, fantasy, and mystery. In them, you will find a great story written with humour and flair that are fabulous reading for 18+ readers.

If you haven’t read these books yet, grab yours on Amazon today! You won’t be sorry!
You can watch Elliot Brooks’ book review on Youtube.
The Book Squirrel reviews make pretty good reading, too!
Click through to our reviews for Sweet Vengeance, Sweet Discovery, and Bittersweet.
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You can follow Aliya on social media:

twitter: @AliyaDalRae

bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/aliya-dalrae

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15019566.Aliya_DalRae

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Aliya-DalRae/e/B01C9MZ0OW

Book Review: Mona Lisa’s Secret by Phil Philips.

In ‘Mona Lisa’s Secret’, Phil Philips has produced an outstanding novel that deserves widespread recognition.
If I could give this book more than five stars, I would.

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This novel delivers a fast-paced, adrenaline-filled adventure that is reminiscent of a James Bond or Jason Bourne blockbuster, centred on historical mystery instead of espionage. It has plenty of heart-in-your-throat moments that keep the reader completely enthralled until the very last page.

The premise of this novel revolves around Da Vinci’s famous painting, touching on mysteries that have intrigued people for centuries. Philips has capitalised on this fascination in the development of this original and highly exciting story.

The construction of complex and gripping plot lines and multiple strong characters with both intelligence and initiative keeps the pages turning, as the reader is keen to find resolution and answers as the story progresses.

In the light of perhaps inevitable questions and comparisons, it’s important to note that this story is very different and, in my opinion, superior to Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’.

In ‘Mona Lisa’s Secret’, Phil Philips has produced an outstanding novel that deserves widespread recognition.

If I could give this book more than five stars, I would.

Book Review: The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer S Alderson

This book has all the ingredients needed for a great mystery/thriller … 5 stars for ‘The Lover’s Portrait’.
You’re sure to enjoy this fantastic book.

30000039This book has all the ingredients needed for a great mystery/thriller: history, intrigue, conspiracy, heartbreak, action and suspense. It may sound contrived or mundane to say that a book is a “page-turner” and that one “couldn’t put it down”, but it really is true of ‘The Lover’s Portait’. Set in Amsterdam, t’s a well-designed, fabulous historical puzzle, solved decades later by someone who has no intention of becoming a detective; rather, it is through her dogged commitment to the truth that she uncovers the answers. The author has woven together a number of compelling plot lines to construct her own work of art. It is free of gratuitous violence and sex, making it suitable for Young Adult audiences as well as older readers.
The story moves at a great pace, keeping the reader fully engaged in Zelda’s quest for the truth. The characters are well-developed and very believable. Zelda, as the main protagonist, is flawed and realistic, while the antagonist is both intelligent and cold-hearted, and is therefore very easy to dislike. This is paralleled in the ‘historical’ characters in the story: the protagonists are likeable and genuine, both oppressed for different reasons, while the author has very effectively characterised their NAZI antagonist as cruel and vindictive through his own motivations and actions without resorting to any typecasting or cliche.  Throughout the novel, the author succeeds in using the natural empathy of the reader to drive their interest and engagement in the characters and plot without the reader being aware of any such positioning.
As the novel draws to a close, Anderson pulls the various story lines together into a neat and satisfying conclusion, albeit tinged with sadness and regret.
5 stars for ‘The Lover’s Portrait’.
Read it. You’re sure to enjoy this fantastic book.

Book Review: ‘Tom’s Inheritance’ by T.J. Green

‘Tom’s Inheritance’ is absolutely captivating…

If you loved Harry Potter, you need to read ‘Tom’s Inheritance’.

‘Tom’s Inheritance’ is absolutely captivating. I was drawn in by the first scene in the woods, and completely enchanted by The Other.

The characters are delightfully complex and intriguing, and all so different. The way their back-stories play out in the action of this book is marvellous, adding layers of connection and engagement in the story that created wonderful involvement in the story for me.

T.J. Green has created fabulous creatures, worlds and environments, connecting them intricately with secrets, mystery, and myth. This mysterious, enchanting tale weaves magical realism, fantasy, and Arthurian legend together seamlessly in an entirely original and captivating way.

If you loved Harry Potter, you need to read ‘Tom’s Inheritance’. You will love it just as much! I know that’s a big call, but I can’t wait to read ‘Twice Born’, the sequel to ‘Tom’s Inheritance’ now!

Five very well-deserved stars!

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Book Review: ‘Shiva XIV’ by Lyra Shanti

‘Shiva XIV’: the next space epic you need to read. Seriously.

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‘Shiva XIV’ is a wonderful sci-fi/fantasy blend with some beautifully crafted magical elements. Or a blend of fantasy and magical realism with sci-fi elements.
Or… never mind. Suffice to say, it’s fantastic.

There is so much that is original in this story. Shanti has really proven herself a master of world-building in the variety and the incredible richness of the settings and unique planets she has created in ‘Shiva XIV’.

Ancient philosophies and vastly different world views characterise the different planets and their populations. These, in turn,  infuse the lead characters with the qualities and complexities that drive them and keep the reader engaged in the story as it unfolds. Not only are there the universal themes of love vs hate and good vs evil, we see the characters struggling with the same opposing forces in their own loyalties and ideologies.

 

The first book of three already published in what promises to be an absolutely brilliant series, it’s no exaggeration to say that ‘Shiva XIV’ could easily become the next space epic series. It would easily fill the void that Star Wars fans will experience after the final episode is released, given that it deals with many similar themes in new and entirely original ways.

 

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Shanti’s narrative flows easily, carrying the reader on Ayn’s journey of discovery and destiny. This book ends on a cliffhanger, but the reader is satisfied enough by the partial resolutions and revelations given in the final chapters of ‘Shiva XIV’ to not feel cheated or short-changed, yet Shanti successfully piques their curiosity enough to leave them wanting more. There’s so much more that is yet to  be revealed!

 

‘Shiva XIV’ gets five very-well-deserved stars from me.  I am very keen to move on to the next Shiva XIV book, ‘The Veil of Truth’ very soon!

 

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