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

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: ‘Timeless Trouble’ by Lucretia Stanhope

It is no small feat to create a series of books that continues to interest and intrigue a reader over time and innumerable  developments of plot and character.  It should be recognised as a significant achievement, then, that this tenth title in Stanhope’s Elemental Witch Trials series is as riveting as the first. 

This novel focuses on the connections between the central characters, but also those between the witches and vampires that readers of the series have come to know, and between the realms they rule and travel. Indeed, it seems that everything is connected to everything else, one way or another. 

As new challenges arise to test their strengths and loyalties, The central characters are faced with almost impossible choices that must be made. The reader is also confronted by those trials, fully aware of the extreme difficulty and serious consequences of each one. 

An intriguing and suspenseful read, ‘Timeless Trouble’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Sylvermoon Chronicles VII’ by the Confederacy of the Quill

This anthology – the seventh in the Sylvermoon Chronicles series – is an outstanding collection of science fiction, fantasy and  horror short stories by authors who are most accomplished at their craft. 

The stories range from angels to demons and wraiths, futuristic worlds to fantasy lands, and scenes laden with terror to deep inner conflicts and fears. Each one is powerfully written, able to immerse the reader in a situation that demands and consumes their attention from the outset.  

The stories are, without exception, quite excellent. 

The diversity and variety between the stories ensure that the reader is always engaged and interested, While there were definitely stories that I enjoyed more than others, that is purely a matter of personal preference.

Sylvermoon Chronicles VII has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘February White Lies: A Cat Collier Mystery’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

A great mystery novella – the second in an excellent series

Having thoroughly enjoyed ‘January Black Ice’, the first in Kauffman’s Cat Collier mystery series last year, I started this second instalment feeling a little sorry that I had left it so long. 

‘February White Lies’ picks up the story of Cat and her boyfriend Carter a short while after the end of the first story.  Members of their families and friends return as regular characters, alongside new people of interest in a new mystery. 

Kauffman’s characters are natural and familiarly drawn, and her writing is comfortable and easy to read. The different characters’ stories are interwoven neatly enough to work in a novella, but without the events of the plot feeling contrived or relationships overly orchestrated. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so I’m going to commit to reading ‘March Blues’ in the coming month. 

This excellent little mystery has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Get your copy here

Book Review: ‘Abandoned’ by Tim Walker

A great historical fiction novella to introduce Tim Walker’s ‘A Light in the Dark Ages’ series.

Set at the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, ‘Abandoned’ tells the story of the settlement of Calleva Atrebatum, and the determination of its people to resist the fearsome invading  Saxon raiding parties who threaten their home and their lives. 

This is a story of bravery and commitment, and of townsfolk uniting for a common cause. The danger they face is very real, and in their determination to survive and overcome, the reader witnesses both the best and worst of human nature. 

The story gives us a realistic and thought-provoking view of a period of history that is little-known to most, and foreshadows the rest of Walker’s series which continues to tell the story of post-Roman England and those who seek to  not only live there but also to control it.

Walker’s storytelling is fluid and lively, full of action, adventure and intrigue. The cast of characters is varied and interesting, ranging from slaves to the ranks of Briton members of the Roman army who, like their countrymen, were left behind when the Romans evacuated to Gaul. 

At the end of this novella, the reader is left feeling as though they have become an ally of the people of Calleva Atrebatum, and keen to discover what happens next in the following book in the series. 

‘Abandoned’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Bitter Beauty’ by Aliya DalRae

Another excellent addition to the Fallen Cross Pack paranormal series by Aliya DalRae.

We all know that life can change in an instant, and that those changes can be hard to reconcile while we’re getting used to them.  This is the situation that Butch Montgomery, second in command in the Fallen Cross Pack, finds himself dealing with in ‘Bitter Beauty’. 

A chance encounter with a  new and different wolf triggers a whole lot of changes in the way Butch sees the world, and a shift of perspective for both himself and the stranger as the story unfolds. 

Part of Aliya DalRae’s excellent Fallen Cross Pack series, this novella was first published in the brilliant fantasy/fairy tale anthology  titled Once Upon A Fabulous Time, and is now available as a standalone story. 
As an aside, if you’re a fan of reimagined fairy tales and fantasy stories, this anthology is well worth reading.

The story is well written, populated with likeable characters and filled with well-constructed moments of tension that really drive the momentum of the story. If werewolves and paranormal romance are your “thing”, you’ll love this book. 

‘Bitter Beauty’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here