Book Review: ‘Blood of Roses: Edward IV and Towton’ by J.P. Reedman

While some history textbooks are interesting and quite easy to read, it is also fair to say that many are written by historians who do not seem to mind that their works are either lofty, dull, or both. 

The beauty of historical fiction is that it has the power to make history accessible to those who otherwise would know little of the events presented in its pages, and to create interest in those men and women who made history through their words, actions and achievements. 

Reedman’s historical fiction is both very readable and enjoyable. 
‘Blood of Roses: Edward IV and Towton’  tells the story of the events during the Wars Of The Roses that resulted in the coronation of Edward, Earl Of March as King Edward IV. The author has brought history to life on these pages, transforming historical figures into vividly portrayed characters and the reader into an onlooker during those pivotal moments in English history. 

Readers who have read and studied the history of this period in detail will find the fictionalised story to be interwoven seamlessly with the account of historical events. Reedman’s narrative is smooth and fluent, and the plot and action of the story are well paced and exciting. 

For all those reasons, ‘Blood of Roses: Edward IV and Towton’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Author Interview: Jennifer N. Adams

Today’s guest is author Jennifer N. Adams. Welcome, Jennifer!

Thanks, Book Squirrel!

What inspired you to write?

I moved around a lot because my dad was in the Navy. I didn’t have many friends because of this so, I spend a lot of time with my nose in a book. I always knew that I wanted to by a published author. I can remember making up stories as far back as the second grade. Yet, I was thirty-four before I published my first book. I didn’t publish again until a few years later. I think being a mom gave me more incentive to start publishing my work. My first book, Dana’s First Fish, was a children’s book completely inspired by my daughter, that I used her initials for the character’s name, as well as her likeness.

·What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

My first novel, Chaos. It’s a young adult fantasy fiction and the first book in my Supernatural Realms Series. It has werewolves, shifters, and faeries, which my grandma and I would joke about the entire time I was writing Chaos.
It had taken me eight years to write, edit, and publish. I had written a note at the beginning of the story, or in the back, that explains the reason why it had taken me so long. Mostly, I had a lot going on at the time. However, I persisted and finished my novel and now it’s published.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

The Beautiful Monsters Series by Jex Lane. I love the world that she has built in her stories and the characters that she has created. I have read her series at least eight times, they are that good!

What are you working on writing now?

I’m working on a few things; an FBI mystery/thriller, that I hope to have out by the beginning of next year. I am also working on the second installment of my Supernatural Realms Series.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Supernatural, of course.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A veterinarian however, that didn’t happen. I joined the military and travelled the world.

Forest, country, beach or city?

The beach. Since my dad was in the Navy, wherever we moved to, we were always near the beach.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love the fall; the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures. It just so happens, orange is my favorite color.

Who designs your book covers?

I actually found a really awesome graphic artist on Fiverr called, Designrans. He wasn’t my first cover designer, but now, he’s the one I go to.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

My first book was traditionally published, and I can say now that I am an indie author, I enjoy being an indie more. I like being in control of my work. I am able to publish more and often, rather than waiting a year or more just to publish one book. I can set my own prices. I get paid more, WAY more, as I receive more in royalties than I did as a traditionally published author.
People always think that being an indie author is more work. That’s true however, you still have to get your name and work out there if you are a traditionally published author. I did a lot of leg work (marketing, promoting, etc) with my first book. I paid my publishing company money to market my book, only for them to pocket the money. After a few years of doing my homework, I decided to self-publish my next book.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Being a single mom to a special needs child. It takes a lot of patience. That’s something that I reserve only for my child.
Another thing that I wish was easy would be having to explain to my child on the spectrum why people are so cruel and mean. It breaks my heart to hear her ask me why people bully her, and this isn’t just children, this includes adults treating her differently.

Where can we find your books?

People can find my published works on the Twisted Crow Press website.

And where can we follow you on social media?

I have a Facebook page where I keep everyone posted on my current projects, as well as my newly published works.

Book Review: ‘Half Sick of Shadows’ by Richard Abbott

As someone who has always loved Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lady of Shalott’, the title of this book caught my eye and imagination immediately. Rather than being a retelling of the poem, however, this book is a speculative fantasy about the life of the Lady before the events of the poem take place, and on the nature of her observations of the world around her tower.

The story is very creative and highly original in its development, intriguing the reader with hints about the truth of the Lady’s identity and the reasons for her being imprisoned in her tower.

The Lady’s character is quite thoroughly developed, as the reader is allowed into her thoughts and responses as well as into her activities. Other characters in the book are less well developed, simply because the story moves from one group to another as it progresses, but all are portrayed in a personal and evocative  manner that gives both the Lady and the reader a strong sense of connection to them. 

The author has given the well known story a new sense of mystery and intrigue and another layer of mystical connection that gives this book depth and has a profound effect on the reader. 

A most enjoyable read, ‘Half Sick of Shadows’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘The Lady Of The Mist’ by WC Quick

If you have ever suspected that the ‘happy ever after’ of fairy tales wasn’t actually true? 

This is a dark fantasy sequel to Cinderella that brings with it a very different set of premises than those suggested by the ending of the popular children’s fairy tale. 

Written with dark humour and a strong sense of irony, this is a fairy tale for the cynical and subversive. 

An entertaining short read, ‘Lady Of The Mist’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.  

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘A Perfect Memory’ by Dona Fox

‘A Perfect Memory’ is a psychological horror short story that twists reality, layering distortion upon disorientation, and making the reader question their perceptions just as the characters do.

The setting really is the star of this story: Chandler House reminded me of pictures of abandoned hospitals and institutions,  with grunge and tarnish on the surfaces, and coldness beneath them. The contrast between the intimidation exerted by certain characters and the vulnerability of others was powerful, emphasising the imbalance between them heightening the impact of the sense of unease that grows within the reader until it evolves into discomfort that is almost unbearable.

‘A Perfect Memory’ certainly provides a confronting reading experience that has a profound effect on the reader and delivers exactly what those who enjoy reading psychological thrillers and horror will be looking for. 

A story that can be read in less than an hour, this chilling short read has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Feels’ by Vanessa Ravel

‘The Feels’ is a gripping psychological thriller that explores ideas of guilt, secrecy, and vengeance through the experiences of Ariel, the protagonist of the story, and her interactions with those close to her as the story progresses.

Ariel is a complex and deeply flawed character, yet one for whom the reader develops a strong sense of empathy because the story is told from her perspective, Her thoughts and feelings are communicated powerfully, creating vivid images in the reader’s mind and evoking strong emotional responses.

The story also provides a fascinating study of a mind corrupted by both mental illness and indulgence in evil, through the thoughts and actions of the antagonist. This adds a dimension of psychological horror that leaves the reader aghast at the extent of the destruction caused by a depraved mind.

The story remains unpredictable and suspenseful throughout, keeping the reader guessing right to the end with plenty of complications and heart-in-the throat moments.

‘The Feels’ 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