Book Review: ‘Tainted Waters’ by Lucretia Stanhope

This is a fantastic read that keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.

It is often said that light drives out darkness and that loves drives away fear. Such proverbs may be mostly true most of the time, but not without exception.

Lucretia Stanhope PPK 1Tainted Waters

‘Tainted Waters’ is a book full of such exceptions. It is a story of shadows and illusions, doubts and deceptions, and of clouded thoughts and emotions. In her youth, Alice desires security, truth and a sense of belonging, but enjoys none of these. Trusting nobody and belonging nowhere, her world is one where, time and time again, she has to choose the least terrible option and learn to make the best of it.

Stanhope has woven a tale in which conflict, distrust and obscured truths come into sharp contrast as the powers of light and darkness battle with one another for supremacy. As Alice discovers who and what she is, and how to make use of the resources available to her, the reader sees those same contrasts in her character: naïveté and inherited knowledge, vulnerability and power, weakness and strength.

This is a fantastic read that keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it hard to put down.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Tainted Waters’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in storytelling.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Chartreuse Spirit’ by India Emerald

India Emerald The Chartreuse Spirit
This is an intriguing story which appears at first to consist of separate and quite distinct observations and reflections from Verity and Peter during a time in which they are separated by Peter’s investigation of a case. The reader does not understand these recollections to be convergent at all until, at some indistinct point, they realise that the two characters’ accounts both relate to the same mystery.

 

It’s very cleverly constructed, and while it does work as a standalone, the reader can gain considerable understanding of the context of this story and its central characters by reading ‘Hope’s Well’ by the same author.

Acorn Award II Silver

This is a great short read that can be enjoyed in the space of a lunch break. Book Squirrel has awarded it a Silver Acorn.

 

Book Review: ‘Mystery At The Fair’ by Connie Cockrell

Readers who enjoy a good mystery will be sure to enjoy ‘Mystery At The Fair’. 

Connie Cockrell Mystery At The Fair
This book introduces Jean Hays, new to Greyson, Arizona, and the newest member of the organising committee for the annual local fair. There are complications aplenty, even before the fair gets under way, and Jean finds herself at front and centre of the story.

This is a well-crafted mystery, full of twists and turns that surprise the reader and keep them guessing right up to the end and a few red herrings thrown in for good measure. The characters are well rounded and interesting, with their flaws as evident as their strengths, making them relatable and realistic.

 

Those readers who enjoy a good mystery will be sure to enjoy ‘Mystery At The Fair’. Acorn Award I Golden

 

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a Gold Acorn.

 

Book Review: ‘100 Word Horrors’ Anthology

100 Word Horrors: A collection of brilliant short reads.

Anthology 100 Word Horrors

A drabble is a piece of writing that is about 100 words in length.

 

What people often do not realise is that writing something short and making it as effective as something longer is actually really hard to do. The same opportunities to develop plot, characters and ideas in a novel or longer story do not exist in flash, micro fiction, or drabbles.

 

This book is a collection of drabbles by different authors, all in the genre of horror. The majority of these pieces of short fiction are brilliant; some are less effective, but that is largely a matter of personal preference. The chills, crawling of skin and unexpected twists are delivered with all the skill and craft that these writers use in their other, longer works, but their talent is highlighted in the fact that they can achieve this in so few words.

 

This book is great for anyone who loves horror, especially for a quick snatched moment of escape during a break or quiet moment. It’s also ideal for anyone new to the genre who wants to “dip their toes in the water” for the first time without committing to a longer read.
Acorn Award I Golden

 

‘100 Word Horrors’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

 

Get your copy at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor’ by Amy M. Reade

Someone does not want Carleigh Warner to restore Peppernell Manor to its former glory. Just who that person is turns out to be a more complicated question than the reader initially supposes.

Amy M. Reade The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor
Someone does not want Carleigh Warner to restore Peppernell Manor to its former glory. Just who that person is turns out to be a more complicated question than the reader initially supposes.

 

Set in an antebellum mansion outside of Charleston, surrounded by old money, old blood and old memories, Peppernell Manor is full of mystery and intrigue that develop steadily as the story progresses.  The reader does feel as though they are transported to the south, and as though the house and characters take shape before them as they read. Some of the minor characters are somewhat underdeveloped, but that doesn’t detract from the story too much, but rather adds to the plot in the sense that the reader continues to be suspicious of them and their motives as the plot thickens.

 

I started this book expecting it to be more about haunting and less of a contemporary mystery, and although that wasn’t quite the case, I was neither disappointed by the story nor by how it worked out.  Acorn Award II Silver

 

I’m awarding ‘The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor’ a Silver Acorn as a very enjoyable mystery story.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Bitter Challenge’ by Aliya DalRae

‘Bitter Challenge’ is another great short read that has further filled out the answers to mysteries raised in DalRae’s Jessica Sweet novels, yet can easily stand alone and be read without spoilers of the series for readers who haven’t got to those other books yet.

Aliya DalRae Fallen Cross Pack 2 Bitter Challenge

An ADR Short that follows ‘Bitter Beginnings‘, this book tells the story of the next stage in the life of Patrick Danes. Although now a wolf shifter and separated from his family, he has lost neither his principles nor his desire to make things better for the pack.

 

The narrative flows easily, bringing scenes and characters to life for the reader. Patrick’s strength and moral character gives the reader a sense of safety and hope in even the most dire of situations.

 

‘Bitter Challenge’ is another great short read that has further filled out the answers to mysteries raised in DalRae’s Jessica Sweet novels, yet can easily stand alone and be read without spoilers of the series for readers who haven’t got to those other books yet.

Acorn Award I Golden

For all of these reasons, I’m giving this book a lovely Gold Acorn.

 

Find ‘Bitter Challenge’ on Amazon.

Book Review: The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

This is a book that delivers the full gamut of emotions through the course of Della’s story. It’s a well-written and very satisfying read.

51SdRC-ABRL
Some people find it easy to leave the past behind. Others cling to the parts of it that hold precious memories or give them comfort. Both types of folks exist in this beautiful story of loss, grief, and finding oneself among that which remains.

 

When love, trust, and Della’s understanding of her own family are called into question,  the reader is reminded just how rare personal integrity can be, and just how profoundly it speaks for itself to others who value it.  The reader finds themselves silently cheering for Della every time she resists the type of mediocrity to which she seems to have been relegated since she was a child, and rejoicing with her when she overcomes her challenges and does something truly extraordinary.

 

This is a book that delivers the full gamut of emotions through the course of Della’s story. It’s a well-written and very satisfying read.

 

Acorn Award I GoldenThe Bookshop On Rosemary Lane has been awarded one of Book Squirrel’s shiny Gold Acorns.

 

Find it on Amazon.