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: ‘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

Book Review: ‘The Lady Of The Mist’ by WC Quick

If you have ever suspected that the ‘happy ever after’ of fairy tales wasn’t actually true? 

This is a dark fantasy sequel to Cinderella that brings with it a very different set of premises than those suggested by the ending of the popular children’s fairy tale. 

Written with dark humour and a strong sense of irony, this is a fairy tale for the cynical and subversive. 

An entertaining short read, ‘Lady Of The Mist’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.  

Find your copy here

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.

Audiobook Review: ‘The King’s Hounds’ by Martin Jensen

‘The King’s Hounds’ is a murder mystery set in Oxford during the reign of King Cnut. An unlikely duo, Winston and Halfdan form a friendship that is still in its early stages when they find themselves assigned the job of investigating the murder and reporting their findings to the king, a task complicated by an abundance of suspects and plenty of obstructions along the way. 

The reader is immersed in the sights and sounds of medieval England, culturally divided between those of Anglo-Saxon and Danish/Viking origins just as Cnut has come to the throne, which places the events of the story in the year of 1016. The resulting climate of distrust and resentment adds further difficulty and intrigue to the case: the king himself is not above suspicion in the death of a prominent Anglo-Saxon thane. 

The characters are very well developed, and are characterised effectively by the narrator. The contrast between the conservative Winston and the rogueish Halfdan creates some entertaining moments, but also enables each of them to play to his strengths when challenged by the various situations and problems they encounter. 

The story is interesting and entertaining, and quite well told. The dialogue is a little stilted at times and not quite consistent with the way people spoke during that period of history, but this may be accounted for by the fact that the book was translated from Danish into English. 

The narration by Napoleon Ryan is noticeably slow, but before I was far into the book, I began to feel that this was something of an advantage, because it gave me time to take in all the detail of the story. 

An enjoyable and interesting book, ‘The King’s Hounds’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy of the audiobook or the novel

Audiobook Review: ‘The White Russian Caper’ by Phyllis Entis


Damien and Millie return in the second instalment of the Damien Dickens mystery series, ‘The White Russian Caper‘ is a mystery adventure that takes the reader from Atlantic City to Hollywood— erm… Florida, in pursuit of the answers they are commissioned to find.

As in all good mysteries, there are plenty of viable suspects and some most intriguing complications and twists.

Tom Lennon delivers another excellent detective-noir style narration with clarity, easy pace, and very good characterisations of the various roles in the story.

Like the first in the series, this audiobook comes highly recommended, and has received a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy of the novel or the audiobook

Book Review: ‘Ye Olde Magick Shoppe’ by Claire Buss

‘Ye Olde Magick Shoppe’ is a delightful short story from Roshaven, the setting of the author’s’ fantasy novel, The Rose Thief.

Central characters Ned Spinks and Jenni the Sprite return with their quirky brand of investigation when a mysterious shop appears in Roshaven. Of course, nothing is straightforward and their endeavours to solve the mystery being about more mayhem than they anticipated.

This is a fun story for all ages that can be enjoyed in less than half an hour. It does work.as a standalone story: prior knowledge of Roshaven and its residents is not essential to understanding and enjoyment of ‘Ye Olde Magick Shoppe’, but readers who have not yet read The Rose Thief will very likely want to after this brief taste of Buss’s enchanting storytelling.

This excellent short story has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.