Book Review: ‘The Hood Game: Rise Of The Greenwood King’ by J.P. Reedman

This is a captivating historical fantasy retelling of the story of Robin Hood and his outlaw band, set during the traditional time period of the reign of the largely absent Richard I, the Lionheart. 

The characters of legend are brought to life again, their backstories and antics told anew in a well-crafted, exciting narrative. The imagery and the action of the story immerse the reader in the company of outlaws, creating a sense of familiarity and bonding with Robyn and his companions. 

In addition to being a great story, this book serves as a vivid reminder of how hard life really was for the common folk in 12th century England, especially those who were excluded from society because of circumstances that were often beyond their control. It is easy to see why figures like Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisbourne were resented and despised by so many, and why men like Robin Hood became the stuff of English legend. 

Book Review: ‘Locksley Vol. 1 – Brotherhood’ by Mark Brownless

‘Locksley’ is an entertaining and very worthwhile read.

Mark Brownless Locksley 1 BrotherhoodThis book takes me back to the days of watching Robin Hood on TV in old black and white movies, and in the cartoon series in which Robin was a fox. The legend of Robin Hood is one I grew up with, and yet ‘Locksley’ delivers a fresh and interesting portrayal of the character and the stories that surround him.

This is only a short volume, but it is a most enjoyable one. It captures some of the history of the time at which the stories are set, framing legend with the history with which it is so richly entwined. It is well-written and the characters are nicely developed.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘Locksley’ is an entertaining and very worthwhile read which has left me keen to read the next instalment. It has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Galatine’s Curse’ by T.J. Green

‘Galatine’s Curse’ delivers plenty of adventure, fun, and heroic action .

T.J. Green Galatine's CurseIt is a fine author indeed who can craft complex and varied worlds and realms, and interweave them seamlessly with the stuff of time-honoured legends so that the reader feels as though this is where those legends must have always taken place. The Other is one such world – connected to ours by portals, vast and incredibly varied and complex. Green has proven her finesse in world building, and in the crafting of unique and interesting races as its inhabitants.

‘Galatine’s Curse’ is the third in T.J. Green’s YA Arthurian sword and sorcery fantasy series. Once again, Green takes the reader on a journey through The Other with Tom, Beansprout, Woodsmoke, Arthur and Merlin, where they encounter new challenges and a variety of new characters that bring dangers of their own.

Tom in particular faces bigger, darker threats than previously, providing plenty of heart-in-the-throat moments and tension that drives the story toward its conclusion.

This book delivers plenty of adventure, fun, and heroic action and reminds the reader not only of the importance of friendship and loyalty, but also that there are some challenges and tasks that one has to face and undertake for oneself. Like the best YA novels, it’s a ripping read with plenty of depth and complexity to engage teens and adults alike.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Galatine’s Curse’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn award.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Fairytale Christmas’ by Merrie Destefano

This was Book Squirrel’s Bookish Advent Event selection on December 20, so it’s lovely to be able to award ‘Fairytale Christmas’ a delicious Gold Acorn on Christmas Eve!

Merrie DeStefano FairyTale Christmas

A magical story of the power of love and its ability to endure despite time and evil. The tension of the opening chapters is gripping, setting the scene for the rest of the story to build and develop.

The seamless blend of original fantasy, paranormal elements and legend makes this book unique and fascinating.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.

Golden AcornsThis was Book Squirrel’s Bookish Advent Event selection on December 20, so it’s lovely to be able to award ‘Fairytale Christmas’ a delicious Gold Acorn on Christmas Eve!

Find it at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Celtic Curse: Banshee’ by D.J. Doyle

A deliciously creepy story.

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Banshee

 

A deliciously creepy story, ‘The Celtic Curse: Banshee” tells the story of the origins and then the conclusion of one family’s experience of a banshee’s curse.

Perfect for lovers of the Gothic and the macabre, this tale is permeated by plenty of classic horror, superstition and dark supernatural power, which are in part balanced by the normality of the central characters who unwittingly fall under the curse.

I found this novelette to be perfect reading for a stormy late September afternoon, given that both Friday 13th and Halloween are approaching.

The Celtic Curse: Banshee is available via Amazon for kindle or in paperback.

Book Review: ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ by Eric Tanafon

Six stars out of five: an amazing book, magnificently written!

Every now and then, as a reader, I experience an incredible moment of revelation when I take in an expression or image of something that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.

No sooner had I started reading ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ than I had to stop and experience the moment. I had just read an extraordinarily beautiful sentence: “The forest clearing was a web of moonlight and shadows.”

What perfect imagery!  It is simple and direct, but powerfully evocative at the same time.

In that moment, I was there. I had been transported to that forest clearing and drawn into the world of the story, even before I knew anything else about it.

This is the magic a writer works when wielding the wand that is their pen.

Eric Tanafon Robin Hood Wolf's Head

Tanafon continues to cast these spells with magnificent imagery throughout this book. As tales are told and the various storylines develop, the author provides the reader with a feast of sensory morsels that both satisfy and delight the reader.

At times, such images can be consumed at speed. Others, like this one, demand more thoughtful digestion to fully appreciate the skill in Tanafon’s craft:

“The autumn day had dawned softly, with light mists gathered around the sun like a veil. In the late morning the forest was still sweet and moist, haunted by the ghosts of decaying leaves.”

As a writer, I lost count of the times I read a sentence or two and thought to myself, “I wish I had written that!”

Tanafon’s genius in reinventing the story of Robin Hood as a paranormal adventure is equally as enchanting as his writing. The stories of Robin Hood, his band of followers and of their enemies are interwoven, not as a braid but as a rich tapestry. Thus the old stories are retold, stripping back the gloss of legend and hero worship and offering the reader a far more thought-provoking and deeply engaging retelling of the famous tales.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s not just a fantastic read: this is literature absolutely worthy of the top shelf.

Available on Amazon.