Book Review: 'Winter's Curse' by April L Wood

‘Winter’s Curse’ is a very original and engaging YA paranormal romance novel in which Winter must overcome not just one, but two curses, that stand between her and future happiness. 

The story is well crafted, with some intriguing twists and turns and a few surprises along the way. Winter and her friends are likeable characters, while those who work against her are clearly intended to be disliked. The magical clans, their qualities and the social structures and rules by which they live are original and interesting, which adds another layer of complexity to the story and helps to drive the complications of the plot. 

This is a book that reminds the reader that real friendship and true love transcend the boundaries of class, heritage or alliance that people try to put on them, and that it’s more important to choose what is right than to settle for what others might decide or impose. 

‘Moonlight’ by David Rose

A short read that is entirely unique and immensely satisfying.

David Rose Moonlight‘Moonlight’ is a beautifully written fantasy story that starts out with a simple meeting of children, but soon becomes something much more enchanting and compelling.

Rose writes with eloquence that gives his story poetic qualities that lure the reader in as he seduces the imagination with his words. It’s almost impossible not to visualise the characters and settings as one reads.

The alternating perspectives of Tadao and Yuzuki give the story depth of insight which may not otherwise be possible to achieve in a short work, helping the reader to appreciate the strength of the bond between the characters and their determination to overcome the challenges they face.

This is a delightful short read that can be read in less than an hour, so it’s ideal for busy book lovers, as well as readers who simply want a taste of something different yet immensely satisfying.

Acorn Award II Silver

I’ve awarded this book a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Out Of The Sands’ by S.A. Gibson and Safa Shaqsy

A fascinating steampunk adventure short story.

SA Gibson Safa Shaqsy Out Of The Sands‘Out Of The Sands’ is a fascinating steampunk adventure short story of political intrigue set in Egypt during a time of social reconstruction.

Aaleyah has been hired to survey the nation’s antiquities; Sunil is her engineer and balloonist. They are immediately very likeable and well-crafted characters, and develop more fully as the story progresses.

The plot unfolds at an exciting pace, with lots of action and movement to keep the reader engaged throughout. The steampunk elements are subtle and well-designed, adding elegance and depth to the story.

This is a very enjoyable and interesting read, finished comfortably in an hour, and includes libraries, history, and sword fighting. What more could a reader want in a story?
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Out Of The Sands’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Get your copy here.

Dec 20 ~ Featured Book: ‘Fairytale Christmas: A Fair Folk Saga’.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 19 is ‘Fairytale Christmas: A Fair Folk Saga’ by Merrie Destefano. 

This is the first installment in the Saga of the Fair Folk, a journey that lasts until the end of time.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 19 is ‘Fairytale Christmas: A Fair Folk Saga’ by Merrie Destefano.

Merrie DeStefano FairyTale Christmas

 

Three thousand years ago, a war began between the immortals and the mortals. It’s a war that continues to this day…

Before history began, a legendary queen battled a foreign army, braved the death of her husband, and faced betrayal at the hand of someone she trusted. This is the story of Eire, Queen of the Faeries, the Immortal One, and the leader of the Tuatha de Danann.

To this day, her homeland, Ireland, bears her name, and this is the story of the war that drove the Immortal Ones into exile. It’s also the tale of how she found help from an unexpected place, leading her to a love like she had never known before.

Fairytale Christmas is a story that spans thousands of years. It’s also the beginning of all of our fairytales and legends; it’s where mortals and immortals survive because they love one another, proving that love is the greatest gift of all.

This is the first installment in the Saga of the Fair Folk, a journey that lasts until the end of time.

‘Fairytale Christmas’ is available at Amazon.

Book Review: Calmer Girls

‘Calmer Girls’ will hold immense appeal for anyone who enjoys YA romance and drama. 

Jennifer Kelland Perry Calmer Girls
‘Calmer Girls’ doesn’t fall into my usual preferred genre, but that didn’t stop me enjoying this book. I was engaged from the start when it opened with a scenario that was instantly familiar to me: teen sisters fighting and competing with one another. As the younger sister in my own family, I could relate to Samantha’s frustrations and sensitivities, even though my sister and I competed and fought over different things than Samantha and Veronica do. The complications and conflicts between Samantha and Veronica are portrayed very realistically, and the reader is drawn into developing a strong sense of empathy for their general situation, as well as for the circumstances of particular characters.

I love that this book is set in Newfoundland and that part of the story relates to the experiences of the families of the fishermen who live there. The author has embedded plenty of details that really do evoke the unique character of St Johns and life in the Canadian Maritimes, so the setting felt very familiar and homey to me because I have visited the Maritimes and have friends there.

I really liked  the frequent references to the classic books such as ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ that Samantha likes to read because they gave me a stronger connection to this story. They weren’t overbearing or super nerdy, yet they communicated clearly that Samantha sees life and thinks at a deeper level than her sister. That positioned me to like her even more than the fact that she is the central character.

I found the characters to be believable and quite well-developed, and the story compelling.

‘Calmer Girls’ will hold immense appeal for anyone who enjoys YA romance and drama.

Silver Acorns
I’ve given ‘Calmer Girls’ a silver acorn.
You can get your copy at Amazon. There’s a sequel, too!

Book Review: ‘The Rite Of Wands’ by Mackenzie Flohr

Mackenzie Flohr has created a beautiful world of magical kingdoms in which ambition and conspiracy work to undermine the rightful order and overthrow the rule of the rightful king.

The story is populated by beautifully complex characters, among whom Mierta McKinnon and Orlynd O’Brien take the lead roles. Very few of the characters are transparent at all, so the story keeps on developing interest and intrigue as it progresses. The very fact that Mierta is so complicated and driven a character draws the reader into his thoughts and aspirations, and engages one deeply in the events of the story as they unfold.

It would be too simplistic to say that this is a story of a battle between good and evil. It may be so, but there are nuances and shades of truth and revelation, and of injustice and vindication, that obscure some elements of the characters and of the story so that the reader is never really able to foresee or predict what is yet to come. In this story, the only thing that is sure is that anything could happen. 
The story finished at a logical point of resolution, although I really didn’t want it to. A number of questions, both incidental and central to the story, remain to be answered in future books. I’m very keen for the next book!

All in all, this is shaping up to be the series I have been waiting for since I finished reading Harry Potter the seventh time over. It’s not more of the same – the world, the characters and the problems they face are very different, but The Rite Of Wands does capture the imagination in the same fantastic, magical way.

The Rite Of Wands is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

Book Review: The Undernet by J.S. Frankel

‘The Undernet’ by J. S. Frankel brings new definition to the age-old contest between good and evil, and between truth and deceit as a young man seeks answers that seem determined to remain hidden. 

‘The Undernet’ by J. S. Frankel brings new definition to the age-old contest between good and evil, and between truth and deceit as a young man seeks answers that seem determined to remain hidden.

Jesse Frankel The Undernet

Frankel has crafted realistic, likeable and engaging central characters in Milt and his girlfriend, Robbie.  They’re not perfect, and their mistakes have consequences, which makes them easier to empathise with and understand. Insights into Milt’s thoughts and gut reactions, and his feelings about Robbie, draw the reader into the often very confronting story of his quest for justice and truth.

Part of Frankel’s genius in casting this story is designing characters who live and work in the shadows, so that the reader has to keep questioning whether they are the good guys or the bad guys. There are so many layers of intrigue and concealment in this story that the reader is kept curious and wanting to know, much like Milt throughout this story, seeing the truth despite layers of concealment and misinformation. In this sense, the Undernet and the Dark Net take on the roles of additional impersonal characters that deliberately obscure reality in this story, just as they seem to in actual fact.

Some parts of The Undernet are definitely uncomfortable to read. In graphic contrast to the sincere and honest friendship Milt has with Robbie and with his best friend, Simon, Frankel gives his readers a solidly-written exposè of the dark side of human nature as one is likely to find it on the dark side of the internet – or anywhere. This is delivered with confronting realism and honesty. Through all of this, It was the strong identification I felt with with Milt’s “ordinary person” response to the ugly side of life that enabled me to keep reading and hoping for him to find the resolution he was so desperate to find.

The Undernet is available on Amazon or from devinedestinies.com