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: ‘Dyrwolf’ by Kat Kinney

‘Dyrwolf’ is a highly original and very compelling story of a young woman learning who she is and what matters most to her in the face of challenges and adversity. 

Lea Wylder is a complex and interesting character who has much to learn about trust, plagued as she is by questions of identity and loyalty, and caught up in the struggle for survival that encumbers the village in which she lives. Although she definitely has her flaws, her loyalty, resilience and integrity make her an admirable hero and a positive role model for teens and young adults, a demographic that is often confronted by questions and  issues similar to those explored in this book.

A very engaging and thought-provoking read that captivated me from the start, ‘Dyrwolf’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here. 

Book Review: ‘Half Sick of Shadows’ by Richard Abbott

As someone who has always loved Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lady of Shalott’, the title of this book caught my eye and imagination immediately. Rather than being a retelling of the poem, however, this book is a speculative fantasy about the life of the Lady before the events of the poem take place, and on the nature of her observations of the world around her tower.

The story is very creative and highly original in its development, intriguing the reader with hints about the truth of the Lady’s identity and the reasons for her being imprisoned in her tower.

The Lady’s character is quite thoroughly developed, as the reader is allowed into her thoughts and responses as well as into her activities. Other characters in the book are less well developed, simply because the story moves from one group to another as it progresses, but all are portrayed in a personal and evocative  manner that gives both the Lady and the reader a strong sense of connection to them. 

The author has given the well known story a new sense of mystery and intrigue and another layer of mystical connection that gives this book depth and has a profound effect on the reader. 

A most enjoyable read, ‘Half Sick of Shadows’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here

Author Interview: J. S. Frankel

My guest today is Jesse Frankel, author of amazing SciFi adventure stories for Young Adults and New Adult readers.

Jesse is no stranger on my book blog or my bookshelf: his book ‘Ether‘ won the Golden Squirrel Book of the Year Award in 2018, and ‘The Incredible Aunty Awesomesauce‘ won the Golden Squirrel Award for YA Science Fiction.

Welcome, Jesse! I feel very privileged to be talking with you.

Hi Squirrel! It’s great to be here, even if your introduction did make me blush.

You’re very welcome. What inspired you to write?

My older son—he was ten at the time—had just seen a cartoon, something about trees. He said, “Papa, wouldn’t it be great if trees talked?” That gave me an idea, and that eventually became The Tower, my first novel.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

Oh, wow, there have been so many! The Catnip series, Ether, The Auctioneer, and Fight Like A Woman are standouts for me, along with Twisted.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

The ‘Friday’ books— ‘Curious Things’ and ‘Curious Times’ by Joanne Van Leerdam, along with ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ by Eva Pasco.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Probably ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ as well as ‘The Forest’ by Julia Blake.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m re-editing an old novel and hoping to submit it soon

Who designs your book covers?

Most of my covers were designed either by Carmen Waters (the Catnip series) or Martine Jardin, who’s done my latest works. Both cover artists are superb!

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I’ll listen to anything save rap.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My honeymoon. My wife and I went to Spain and it was amazing! The history, the food, the people… perfect.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Star Trek, TOS. Nothing else comes close.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Lots, but any of the superhero flicks are great. I loved Ready Player One, and I’m an old Biblical movies buff.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“You’re born alone and you die alone. It’s what you do in between that matters.” That was from my father. Perhaps he heard it from someone else, but it’s always resonated with me.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

My parents, who taught me to be a good person, and my wife, who is my strength.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It ain’t easy! Some people have the misconception that indie authors aren’t good, that they’re lazy or hurting the industry…they have very negative views.
To be fair, some authors have an I-don’t-care attitude, but the vast majority I know are hard-working, productive individuals who genuinely care about what they write and the industry they’re in.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Selling books and editing!

One day someone will say “cracking acorns open” and I’ll be able to help them with that… sigh.
Say, where can readers find your books?

My books are widely available, so they’re in all the online stores, but the most common places people get them would be Amazon or my publisher’s website, Devine Destinies. Just look for J.S. Frankel and you’ll find them.

And where can we follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for being here today, Jesse!

Thanks for making me welcome!



Fast Five: Historical Fiction Book Recommendations

Step back into the past with these excellent historical fiction reads.

I, Richard Plantagenet 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KKUXNYY

The First Christmas
http://www.amazon.com/First-Christmas…/dp/B078HV168L/

Arthur, Dux Bellorum
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NTP9ZTT/

The Artist 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BJKPWNB/

Miriamne the Magdala 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0793T93TD/

Fast Five: Dystopian & Post-Apocalyptic Reads

If dystopian and post-apocalyptic reads are your favourites, try these!

Sleepless Flame 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07B4R1XRJ/

Only The Few 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071197GBP

Quad 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DCV7YNL

The Gaia Effect 
https://www.amazon.com/Gaia-Effect-Claire-Buss-ebook/dp/B01N7KT80X/

I Wore Heels To The Apocalypse 
https://www.amazon.com/I-Wore-Heels…/dp/B01DRBA67U/

Author Interview: Greg Alldredge

Welcome to another great author interview! Today I’m chatting with Greg Alldredge, author of science fiction, steampunk and dark fantasy books that are excellent reading.
Welcome, Greg!

Thank you, Book Squirrel. I’m very happy to be here.

What inspired you to write?

For the longest time I had stories in my head. I thought I could tell a good story, and I thought  people might like to read what I thought about things. Finally I took the time to finish the first one, and the ideas kept coming. I will keep writing as long as I keep having ideas.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

That is like asking a parent which is their favorite child. I like the Helena Brandywine series, They keep selling at a good clip so it seems others like them too. I still have a soft spot for my first “Lights in the Night.” It is hard to market but I love the story.

I’ve read both of those and really enjoyed them.

Thank you! I hope you left a review?

I always do!
Tell us, Greg, what’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

I have so many favorite books. Most of Alistair MacLean’s work I still enjoy.

What are you working on writing now?

So many… when an idea strikes I need to work on it for a while to get it out of my head. I am working on an Urban Fantasy set in Boston and a Middle Grade reader set in the Pacific Northwest. Both are in their infancy. I love this time of the writing process, I never know if my ideas will gel until I write the first few chapters.

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

Coffee… loads of coffee.

Who designs your book covers? They always look fantastic.

Ryn Katryn, Digital Art Group can be found on Facebook.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

Just about anything…

Forest, country, beach or city?

Depends on my mood, all the above at different times. I am currently living in a small seaside city on an island in the Northern part of Vietnam.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Currently my wife and I are tying to live out of suitcases for the next two years or so. We will travel from one city to another and write about our experiences.

That sounds hard to beat! What is your pet hate?

Hypocrisy.

Oh yeah! I hate that, too. Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

Always.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Summer, we are both tired of the cold. The next two years we are going to bounce north and south of the equator to stay in summer. If we are successful we might keep doing it as long as possible.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

Like many things in life writing takes risk. Indies take on the vast majority of risk straight on the shoulders. It is hard to work on a project and let it loose upon the world to see if it will fly or sink like a lead balloon.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Selling books and finding people to read your books.

You’d be surprised how many authors mention those things.

No, I wouldn’t!

You got me. You’re right.
Tell us, Greg, where can readers find your books?

Most of my books are widely available, but most people find them on Amazon.

And where can we find you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks for being here today, Greg. It’s been great talking with you.

Thanks for having me! It’s been fun.