New Release: NO! How To Say It So They Know You Mean It.

This is a non-fiction book you can read in under an hour and revolutionise your communication with people who try to manipulate or take advantage of you.

Available in ebook and paperback from Amazon and other online stores.

Among all the different people in this world, there are two groups who invariably find each other: those who have trouble saying no, and those who take advantage of them. 

This quick and quirky self-help guide to saying no more effectively provides insights and tips on how to say “no” so that others know you mean it, and thereby reclaim your freedom from those who would readily exploit your generosity.  

If you find it hard to say no to people, but really want to… this is the book you need. 

Book Review: ‘The Council’: The Witch’s Ambitions Trilogy Book 1 by Kayla Krantz

In a genre that is highly competitive and very well populated, it is crucial that an author finds a way to make their work stand out from the crowd. 

Kayla Krantz has achieved this bu creating a vibrant, talented and engaging protagonist who has a disability, and crafting complications and one of the mysteries of the story around the origins of Lilith’s injury.

As a reader with mobility issues of my own, this gave me a point of connection with Lilith and created instant empathy for her. Her disability is presented in a genuine and realistic way, as is the mental and emotional “conversation” she has with herself because of it. Importantly, the author demonstrates very clearly and powerfully that a disability does not define a person, nor does a physical impairment limit one’s talent, character or potential for success. Lilith is clearly a witch who happens to have a disability, not a disabled witch.  This is a really important distinction.

The story is well crafted, with plenty of interest and mystery in the subplots as well as the main story. The characters are varied and complex, many with intriguing backgrounds and individual motivations that contribute to the mysterious tone of the story.

Having greatly enjoyed this first book, this is certainly a series I want to read more of. 

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. 

Audiobook Review: ‘Escaping from Houdini’ by Kerri Maniscalco

The third in Kerri Maniscalco’s Victorian macabre mystery series, ‘Escaping from Houdini’ is set on the Etruria, a cruise ship travelling from London to New York in 1899 with Audrey Rose Wadsworth, her beau Thomas Cresswell, and Uncle Jonathan Wadsworth aboard.

A series of gruesome murders present this Victorian forensic science team with a series of challenges and mysteries that must be solved before arriving at their destination. 

The story is intricate and complex, dark and dangerous, and completely captivating. Themes of distraction, illusion and deception interweave like a macabre carnival dance. The personal consequences and implications for Audrey Rose, Thomas, and other passengers on the ship are compelling, keeping the audience engaged both mentally and emotionally in the drama as it unfolds. 

Nicola Barber’s narration is expressive, fluent and most enjoyable. Barber has a definite gift for characterisation and drama  that makes her storytelling lively and most enjoyable.  

An excellent audiobook experience, ‘Escapting From Houdini’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Available as a novel or audiobook

Book Review: ‘The Glass Runner: Versatile Layer Book 2’ by Thomas Davis

‘The Glass Runner’ is a science fiction book with a decent storyline, interesting characters, and some good action sequences. Moments of humour break the tension of battle and conflict, and an air of mystery surrounding some of the characters adds an element of intrigue. 

The central characters are varied and interesting, with personalities and qualities that make them likeable and engaging.  While recounting the conflict between the Terrans and the Arez, the story provides a coming-of-age for Chase as he fights to overcome those who not only threaten the future, but also plague his past. 

This book is, however, rather in need of a good edit. Correcting the too-frequent errors and polishing the storytelling would raise the overall finished quality of the book and make it more appealing and satisfying to readers. 

‘The Glass Runner: Versatile Layer Book 2’ has been awarded a Bronze Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Interspecies Poker Tournament’ by Claire Buss

’The Interspecies Poker Tournament’ is a prequel to The Rose Thief’, Claire Buss’ first novel to feature Ned, Jenni, and the rest of the Thief Catcher gang.

It is a wonderfully quirky fantasy story, full of rich and diverse characters that all have their own priorities and vested interests in catching the murderer.

It’s written with humour and warmth that infuse the story with a genuine feel-good tone, despite the multiple deaths, general trickery and deliberate obfuscation by some, and the presence of some rather sinister characters. 

This novella-length book can easily be read in a couple of hours, and would best suit a YA-and-older audience. I found it to be a great diversion on a quiet afternoon, and thoroughly enjoyed the story. 

’The Interspecies Poker Tournament’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Oathbreaker’ The Kings Hounds book 2 by Martin Jensen

This sequel to The King’s Hounds continues the story of the friendship between Winston and Halfdan as they find themselves investigating a murder at a monastery en route to carrying out another assignment on behalf of King Cnut.

Historical enmity and mistrust, not only between Saxons and Danes but also between two prominent monasteries, cloud the situation, requiring the two medieval amateur detectives to tread carefully while ferreting out the relevant facts and details from the actions and words of the cast of characters that surrounds them. 

This is a great story, full of interest and intrigue. The characters are varied and colourful, and the settings are lifelike and fascinating.

The story is embellished with interesting historical details and insights that enable the reader to develop their own questions and theories about the suspects, just as they would with a mystery set in the present, keeping them engaged in the plot and paying careful attention to the clues discovered and discussed by Winston and Halfdan. 

A most enjoyable medieval mystery read, ‘Oathbreaker’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here