Audiobook Review: ‘The First Queen of England, Part 2’ by M.J. Porter

Elfrida, or Ælfryth, was the first anointed and crowned queen of England, ruling alongside her husband, Edgar, in the 10th century.

‘The First Queen Of England’ Part 2 is the second instalment of Elfrida’s story, and shows just how strong and resilient  she was in a world dominated by patriarchy, politics and warfare. 

Just like the first book in the series, this book is very well written and is entirely consistent with the historical context of the story, even though it is undoubtedly fiction. 

It is a significant achievement on the author’s part to reanimate characters from the long-distant past in such a way that the reader feels as though they know them and can understand their concerns, cares and motivations. It is pleasing to witness the dynamics of the characters as they mature, and intriguing to observe the intricacies of the machinations and politics at court and the personal impact on the queen and king as individuals as well as rulers. 

The narration by Sheila Daly Payson is most enjoyable. Her voice is pleasant and her reading is fluent. Her characterisation of the different roles is effective, and really brings the various characters to life. 

As richly detailed and intriguing as part 1, ‘The First Queen Of England, Part 2’ is a most enjoyable story. This is in every aspect a very pleasurable audiobook experience, and is also available as an ebook or paperback. 

Book Review: ‘The Lost Ancestor’ by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

A family’s search for a long-lost great aunt turns into a riveting investigation for Morton Farrier, a forensic genealogist with a passion for discovering the truths and intricacies of the past. 

This case takes the reader back to 1911 and into the upstairs/downstairs world of a family and estate that rivals those of Downton Abbey for both prestige and drama. It is a world with which we have become very familiar through TV and film as well as novels, but in this book, the author immerses the reader in both the historical story and in Morton’s investigation with a sense of familiarity and first-hand observation that is quite remarkable.  

As with the first book in this series, this is a very well written story that, once started, demands to be read regardless of other priorities. It is interesting, dramatic and suspenseful, with some completely unexpected twists. 

This is a top quality, highly recommended read. 

Book Review: ‘Christmas Miracle on Christmas Day’ by R.M. Gauthier

This short book is a very fitting end to Gauthier’s ‘Christmas Miracle’ romantic novella series.

It is an enjoyable and heartwarming story that draws together the loose threads of the story of Jack and Charlotte, although not without Jack still managing to endanger their relationship even as everything appears to be pointing toward a happy future together. 

In keeping with the rest of the series, the overall tone is lighthearted and positive.

It is easily read in under an hour, so it fits well into the reading schedule of busy people. 

Book Review: ‘July Fireworks Sky: A Cat Collier Mystery’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

In this seventh novella in Carol Ann Kauffman’s Cat Collier Mysteries series, life takes some surprising turns for Cat, Carter, and their families and friends.

Rather than investigating a particular case, Cat is confronted by questions and dilemmas of her own that she must solve. 

This instalment of the story keeps the reader engaged with some great heart-in-the-throat and “oh no!” moments, and keeps them guessing as to how Cat will resolve her issues and what she will do next. 

Like the others in the series, this book is written with warmth and familiarity, and demonstrates the author’s flair for great storytelling. 

‘July Fireworks Sky’ has received a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book of the Week: ‘Fallen Captive’ by Aliya DalRae

‘Fallen Captive’ is the second book in a suspenseful and exciting new series of paranormal romance suspense novels by Aliya DalRae.  

Held captive from birth for crimes ultimately committed by another, the Vampire, Nox, escapes the Primeval only to spend his first hundred years of liberty searching for somewhere to belong. The last place he imagined he’d call home is with the Fallen Cross Legion, a military faction serving the very entity responsible for his wrongful imprisonment. The only complication is the fire-haired female who saved his life, if not his eye.

From the moment she laid eyes on him, Rachel found herself drawn to Nox. However, the loss of her human husband after a lifetime of devotion left her with no desire to put herself through that brand of heartbreak ever again. She doesn’t need a male in her world to feel complete. 

When the Primeval demands an audience with Nox and the Legion Warriors, they find themselves far from home and at the mercy of a madman. Compelled by the Seer blood running through her veins, Rachel joins the Warriors on their journey to London, knowing full well they’ll be lucky to escape with their lives.

But her heart has betrayed her, and Rachel knows she must do whatever it takes to rescue the male that she loves. 

Of course, you may want to start at the beginning of the Fallen Cross Legion series with Fallen Prey, which has been reviewed previously on this blog.

Aliya DalRae is the author of the Jessica Sweet trilogy of paranormal romance novels and the Fallen Cross Pack paranormal novella series.

Book Review: ‘March Blues: A Cat Collier Mystery’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

‘March Blues’ is an engaging and well-paced mystery novella.

The third in Carol Ann Kauffman’s mystery novella series featuring vivacious private investigator Cat Collier, ‘March Blues’ continues the development of the main characters’ stories while Cat investigates some new cases and discovers that not all mysteries are as open and shut as she would like.

While the story is very entertaining, complexity is added by the  issues of trust and integrity and the consequences of choices made in the past that both confront the characters and prompt the reader to think about what their own actions might be in similar circumstances.

An engaging and well paced short read, ‘March Blues’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘A Stag In The Shadows’ by S.E. Turner

The fourth book in S.E. Turner’s Kingdom of Durundal series is an excellent read.

“So many paths cross and entwine with another, and then each one returns to its starting point.” 

Ajeya’s words to Dainn are true of both what they observe at that point in the story, and of the story itself. ‘A Stag In The Shadows’ is as compelling and breathtaking a story as the three books that precede it in Turner’s Kingdom of Durundal series, but it also draws together the threads of the stories from each one and reveals the bigger picture of the whole tapestry. In this, it is very satisfying to readers who have followed the series from the beginning, yet it is not the end as there are still questions to be answered and mysteries remaining to be solved in the following book. 

Even for readers who have not read the rest of the series, this book is independent enough of the others to be a most enjoyable read, although it is fair to say that those who have read the previous instalments will get more out of it.  

The reader becomes involved in this story early on, and develops a strong sense of allegiance with the characters by the time the tensions really start to rise. Just like the characters do, the reader must wait for each development and revelation to occur as the story unfolds, once again positioning characters and reader alongside one another and against those who threaten them.  There is drama and action aplenty to balance the waiting and suspense. 

‘A Stag In The Shadows’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here