Book Review:’Merry Apocalypse’ by C.A. King

A sobering tale set on Christmas Eve.

What happens to a world where things are valued more than people? In the midst of songs and stories about jolly old Santa comes a tale of foreboding and darkness that speaks to a materialistic and selfish world.

The story immerses the reader in an environment where “naughty” far outweighs “nice”, and where the consequences affect all of humanity. Yet still, even in the depravity and darkness, a small flicker of hope survives— perhaps just for one more night.

‘Merry Apocalypse’ is a well-crafted short story with a powerful message. We may not be experiencing the apocalypse, but its warning is relevant and timely.

‘Merry Apocalypse’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Thorns‘ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another great read in an excellent paranormal series.

This seventh book in the Elemental Witch Trials series focuses on Rose, Brac’s daughter, take over as the main character, Brac still features prominently in the story, while Gwen and other family members continue to take supporting roles. Once again, the author achieves a natural and smooth progression that enriches the series without losing continuity or cutting off the stories of other family members.

Rose is a formidable character, not afraid to use both her physical and inner strengths to achieve her goals. She is complex and conflicted, which adds a very relatable layer of depth to her story.

As with every other instalment of this excellent series, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Thorns has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Tempered Fury‘ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another brilliant read in an excellent paranormal series.

The sixth book in the Elemental Witch Trials series sees Brac take over as the central character, with his mother Gwen and other family members in supporting roles. This is quite a natural and smooth progression, and one that I felt was timely in the overall story of the series. It’s interesting and exciting for the reader to see this generational change and to learn how Gwen’s qualities and powers have been passed on in her children and grandchildren.

The evolution of Brac is both fascinating and satisfying, as the reader begins to see beneath his impulsive and superficial exterior to what is really underneath. The development of the next generation is also very interesting, and the reader can only begin to guess what challenges and exploits await these new characters.

The story still has sufficient continuity with the previous books in the series to maintain the flow of the overall series, but this book is also sufficiently detailed in terms of back story so that a reader unfamiliar with the series could still enjoy it and understand enough of the context to fully enjoy the book.

It is an excellent series though, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each instalment so far, so I really do encourage readers to start at the beginning.

Tempered Fury has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Killer of a Mind’ by Valerie Albermarle

This book is both a great story and a sensory pleasure for the reader.

Valerie Albermarle Killer of a MindA gifted writer takes the reader from whatever place and position they’re in and transports them to the setting of the author’s choice and creation.

In ‘Killer of a Mind’, Albermarle immerses the reader in the sights and sensations of various towns along the east coast of America before dunking them in the waters of the Mayan Riviera on the shores of Mexico, where the contrasts and conflicts of this story are heightened by those characteristic of Tulum, the Mexican town in which Ryan finds himself. Noise and quiet reflection, richness and poverty, sunshine and shade all reflect Ryan’s own mental and emotional condition.

Unlike Ryan, the reader understands that there is always more than one side to a story. Albermarle has woven the threads of this story together with craftsmanship and finesse, leaving nothing to either predictability or fate. The reader is not allowed to become complacent – as Ryan discovers, there is always a new challenge, a surprise or a revelation as a corner is turned or a hill is crested that shows the light shining on things differently with a change of perspective.

Albermarle’s writing is rich and vivid, developing magnificent scenery full of colour and sound, and complex characters that seem to have more shade than light to them.
Acorn Award I Golden
Book Squirrel has awarded ‘Killer of a Mind’ one of his special Golden Acorns for excellence because this book is both a great story and a sensory pleasure for the reader.

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: ‘The Unlikeliest Candidate’ by J. S. Frankel

An absolutely ripping read for NA and grownups.

Jesse Frankel The Unlikeliest CandidateHarry Cannell’s life is going to hell in a handcart – fast. He’s a regular guy with regular problems that start piling up until one extraordinary event changes everything for him.

It’s great to find a brilliant story that revolves around a character who is actually so ordinary and who struggles to make sense of exactly how he arrived at the point in life where he finds himself as the book opens. This makes him relatable to the reader, and positions them to feel sympathy for the misery he experiences.

This story is a unique blend of mystery, sci-fi, comedy, romance and adventure all in one. It’s a great escape into the realm of ‘What if?’ that tempts the reader to wonder and hope that there might actually be something more, some unrealised possibilities that we simply overlook as we pursue life as we know it.

There is some physical intimacy in this book, so it’s suitable for New Adult audiences and up, rather than YA.

‘The Unlikeliest Candidate’ is an absolutely ripping read from start to finish.
Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded it a Gold Acorn for brilliant storytelling and great writing.

Find your copy at Amazon.

Author Interview: Eva Pasco

Author Interview: Book Squirrel chats with Eva Pasco, author of contemporary “lit with grit”.

Interview Cobalt

Book Squirrel chats with Eva Pasco, author of contemporary “lit with grit”.
Welcome, Eva! Eva Pasco - author

Book Squirrel, seeing you go nuts over authors, I’m in the right place. Thank you for the warm welcome!

It’s great to have you here. What inspired you to write?

Already having typewritten a mystery and a spy series by the age of twelve, and composed a romance novella in high school, I shelved my creativity during college and throughout my teaching career in elementary education. On my last day of school, I left a handwritten farewell note to my colleagues near the sign-in area of the main office. Many of the teachers let me know how much my note moved them. At least two told me I should write a book.
Inspired, I revived my dormant imagination. In 2007, I published my first novel in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction, based on my fragrance addiction—Underlying Notes. Several years later, in 2016, I published An Enlightening Quiche, where I incorporated aspects of my summer job at a bookbinding factory to the fictitious, impoverished mill in the story.

Wow! An author by twelve! That’s impressive!

I guess so!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

ScreenHunter_437 Feb. 03 11.37Always enamored with my latest published work, I’d have to say my favorite at this point in time is “Mr. Wizardo”. This novella is part of the co-authored collection of reimagined fairy tales for grownups, Once Upon a Fabulous Time, in collaboration with the Indie Fabs: Aliya DalRae, R.M. Gauthier, J.B. Richards, Lyra Shanti, and Joanne Van Leerdam.

Oh, I just got my copy of that! It looks fabulous indeed!

It really is!

I can’t wait to read it. What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Thus far, my steadfast answer is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. The effects of intense suffering between two passion-driven characters with a toxic love-hate relationship who torment themselves, each other, and those around them tug at my heartstrings.

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

Although the year has just begun, I will give a shout out to my current read. I’m 79 per cent through ‘Sandhills’ by Alan Vanderoot. It is a Contemporary Coming-of-Age that nails the protagonist’s teen angst living with a verbally and physically abusive father, and the outlet he finds to come into his own.
I also want to heap praise on the latest published paranormal short in the “Fallen Cross” pack, ‘Bitter Challenge’ by Aliya DalRae.

Oh, I’ve read ‘Bitter Challenge’! That’s a really great series. 

Isn’t it, though?

What are you working on writing now?

At the onset of 2018, I began writing my next Contemporary, Aida’s Fishing Ground. I’m currently in the midst of drafting chapter 2.

Who designs your book covers?

Now that I am going full-tilt boogie as an Indie—none of this hybrid stuff for me any longer—it’s Renee Gauthier, courtesy of her enterprise, R.M. Designs. Her covers and banners are fabulous!

Forest, country, beach or city?

It always has and always will be the beach!

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

One of my pet hates is that “exploitation” for monetary gain, power, or control whether perpetrated by usury, intimidation, pretense, lying, cheating, humiliation, preying…
As of yet, I haven’t brought it to light in my writing.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

My all-time favorite movie to watch over and over is Casablanca because it reinforces that there are no painless resolutions in life. The choices we make often come at a personal sacrifice of love and happiness.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

Hard to choose, but I’ll cite this one by Khalil Gibran—“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.”

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

No two Indies are the same, therefore there is no well-trodden path which leads a writer to becoming a successful author. Success is based on your own criteria and not anyone else’s.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

I wish it were easier to recover from heartbreak.
And, although, I have been blessed with good health thus far—I wish ageing were easier.

Those are sobering thoughts indeed – and you have expressed them beautifully.

Thank you. You’re a lovely squirrel.

Careful, you’ll make me blush! Tell me, Eva, where can we find your books?

They’re on Amazon and you can also get signed/personalized copies at Authors Den.

 

Where can readers follow you on social media?

I have a Facebook Page: where people are welcome to follow me, and I’m on Goodreads, too.
I also have a blog titled Eva’s Bytes – An Indie Author’s Blog on WordPress.

Thank you for being here today, Eva. 

It’s been fun! Thank you, Book Squirrel!