#BookReview for The Syk’m by Richard Dee

My review for The Syk’m by Richard Dee, 5/5 stars.

An enjoyable story with great world-building, where the human-like Skanderlings are terrified of the Syk’m, fairy-like people with wings. Those Skanderlings who claim to have seen them are shut away on an island, deemed too crazy for society.

When a young man, Hors, is taken to the Syk’m’s world by Enuna, he learns that they are not the evil creatures he has been brought up to believe. Using a mysterious energy called Engaia, they can travel between worlds, where they observe and learn about the inhabitants.

But the energy has been misused, and now another race, the Druhaan, has invaded their world, intent on destroying them. Enuna asks Hors and his gang of friends for their help in defeating the Druhaan.

Rather appropriately for the times, it is a story of acceptance, of overcoming prejudices, of learning about people before judging them. With a wonderfully descriptive narrative that pulls you into the world Dee has created, this is a great read.

http://mybook.to/the_sykm

#BookReview for #UnderneaththeChristmasTree by Heidi Swain #NetGalley

My review for Underneath the Christmas Tree by Heidi Swain, 5/5 stars.

A wonderful, feel-good romantic story that’s perfect for Christmas. This is the first book I’ve read by the author, and it was a heartwarming story that makes you wish it was Christmas already!

Full of great characters, with some funny and some sad moments, you finish the book feeling as though you’ve made some wonderful friends.

With a Christmas tree plantation, an adorable husky, and mugs of hot chocolate, it’s perfect for snuggling up on the sofa for a few hours and forgetting about everything else.

Highly recommended for getting you in the Christmas spirit!

#BookReview for The Hag by Kim Rigby

My review for The Hag by Kim Rigby, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I’ve enjoyed reading the whole Black Fire Chronicles series, so when Kim Rigby offered me an ARC of her latest book, I jumped at the chance! I love how these books have grown with the readers, starting from middle grade with book 1 to upper middle grade, almost YA, with this one. The Hag is darker, with some sad scenes, but it’s also a great adventure story with plenty of time stepping and talking animals!

Andrew Adler is older, falling in love for the first time, dealing with school and teenage hormones, when the Hag enters his life. Determined to destroy him, his friends and family, and the Seer, she attacks where it will hurt Andy the most. He must travel through time and try to change the course of history in order to stop the Hag and save someone he loves.

All my favourite characters are back in this book: Dorothy, Mr Lovell, Mrs Bargwana, Gus, Leo, and of course Ralph the talking dog, plus there are a few new ones, including Winston Churchill as a cat! I love the research that has gone into this series – it’s a fun, exciting way to learn about history, for both children and adults.

This is a series I highly recommend for children age 8 and up, and adults too – with great characters, lots of fun adventures, and some serious moments too, it’s good to switch off and revisit our childhood sometimes! I’m looking forward to the next instalment!

(The ebook is also only 99p/99c at the moment, a bargain!)

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Black-Fire-Chronicles-Fantasy-English-ebook/dp/B09G6429J1/
Amazon UK (Affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3umikHp

#BookReview for The Silver Star Caper by Phyllis Entis

My review for The Silver Star Caper by Phyllis Entis, 5/5 stars.

I haven’t yet read all the books in the series, but jumped at the chance to read an ARC of the latest book. Damien Dickens and his wife Millie are a great team, and it isn’t necessary to have read the previous instalments to enjoy this one.

Set in the 1980s, the author mixes real-life events with fiction, and adds a few twists along the way. This time Dickens is up against white-supremacist, neo-Nazi militia whose actions are hitting a bit too close to home, while Millie concentrates on her own investigative work. Their relationships with each other, and their friends and family, are put to the test as events unfold and they are both dragged deeper into their investigations.

With no mobile phones or internet, the author takes us back in time to good, old-fashioned detective work, and the frustration and worry at not knowing where or how a loved one is. I love how Millie is just as important to the story as Damien is – sometimes even more important! With witty one-liners, together with some serious moments, it kept me gripped all the way through. A great read that I highly recommend!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09BLDWL9N/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09BLDWL9N/

#BookReview for The Fenian by Mike Kernan

My review for The Fenian by Mike Kernan, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I absolutely loved this book. Set in 2001, with flashbacks to the 1970s and 80s, it follows the story of Lorna, a young girl who grew up in Scotland, and centres around a promise she made to her dying mum. But there is so much more to this book.

It’s a richly woven narrative of a group of kids on the verge of adolescence, with love, teenage angst, loss, and all the trials and tribulations that growing up brings. The narrative was spot on, and I found myself so immersed in the book that it was as though I was there with them, reliving my own adolescence with the gang of friends I used to hang out with at the park.

Beautifully written, with funny moments and sad moments, I was hooked all the way through. Everything – the characters, the setting, the music, the story – was a joy to read, and I didn’t want it to finish. I hope there will be a sequel, as I want more! This is definitely one of my favourite books this year, although I feel that my review hasn’t done it justice. Highly recommend!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FCW1JJZ/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08FCW1JJZ/

#BookReview for Lost Tales of Solace books 1-4 by Karl Drinkwater

If you’ve read the two main novels by Karl Drinkwater, Lost Solace and Chasing Solace, you’ll enjoy the four novellas he’s written to expand the story and give us some more background. If you haven’t read them, then do, as they’re great reads!

Here are my reviews for all four novellas, all 5/5 stars. They also earn a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Helene (Lost Tales of Solace Book 1)

It takes us back to the beginning, when Clarissa was an emergent AI who still had to learn much about life – especially how to tell a joke! The interaction between Helene and the AI is just as amusing, descriptive, and wonderful as it is in the other two books, this is Drinkwater at his best!

I love the universe that has been created here, and how each book reveals a little more. I can’t wait for more! Highly recommend.

Grubane (Lost Tales of Solace Book 2)

This is another great addition to the Solace series. Each novella gives us more background to the universe Drinkwater has created, building up to the two main novels.

In Grubane, he has interwoven the story with tactics used in chess, in a clever, intriguing way. It gives us an insight into Grubane’s mind, and leads the story along to its gripping conclusion.

The interaction between the AI and Major Grubane is intelligent, witty, and at times almost childlike, as the AI questions its almost human-like feelings. I loved these two characters – neither is as sterile or emotionless as they seem at the beginning. 

A great read, as ever, from Drinkwater.

Clarissa (Lost Tales of Solace Book 3)

I love the Lost Solace series, and this is my favourite of all the novellas. Written in the voice of ten-year-old Clarissa, it fills in some of the background of Opal’s story.

I enjoy Karl Drinkwater’s books, he has that enviable talent of being able to take on the voice of any protagonist in a truly believable way, and this is shown in Clarissa’s story. It isn’t easy to give each book a unique narrative, yet he does it in a way that hooks you into the story and leaves you wanting more at the end.

I look forward to reading more of this series, I’m intrigued to see where the author will take us next!

Ruabon (Lost Tales of Solace Book 4)

Yet another great instalment in the Lost Solace series, Ruabon is one of those rare books where you feel like you already know the character from the first page. It’s incredible how Drinkwater is able to create a character and story that instantly pulls you in, and leaves you feeling bereft at the end, all in the pages of a novella.

This is the story of a man who, in his own quiet way, fights against the system and the perpetual boredom of his humdrum life. I loved the drones he reprogrammed, each with their own character and energy, each adding a wonderful touch of humour to the story.

Written in Drinkwater’s inimitable style, this is another Lost Solace episode I highly recommend!

You can find all the books in the series at all online retailers.

#BookReview #Femlandia by Christina Dalcher #NetGalley

My review for Femlandia by Christina Dalcher, 5/5 stars.

Wow, I loved this book! Miranda was a great character, who I started off liking, got frustrated with her, then ended up understanding and liking her again.

The story starts in the not-too-distant future where the world’s economy has collapsed and people are left to fend for themselves. It begins as a dystopian novel, but becomes one woman’s fight to survive in this new world, and to put to rest her demons from her past.

The daughter of Win Somers, founder of the Femlandia colony, Miranda has had to battle low self-esteem and estrangement from her mother after a shocking discovery in her teens. Alone with her own daughter, Emma, she must decide what is best – whether they can survive the next few days, or whether they should go to the colony she despises.

The story grips you from the first page, and keeps you hooked as it takes some sinister turns. Well written, with fantastic characters, and a horrifying storyline, this a book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it. Highly recommend!

Many thanks to NetGalley and the author for this ARC.

#BookReview for Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

My review for Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair, 5/5 stars.

A beautifully written, heartbreaking story set in the 1700s of a young lady, Elizabeth Manteith, who is kidnapped from Scotland and taken to America to be sold as a slave. Based on real events, it brings to light the plight of more than 600 people who were taken over the years.

This is a love story that transcends colour, race, and class, as Elizabeth grows from being a spoilt lady of the castle to a young woman who fiercely defends her closest friends. There is joy and sadness, laughter and tears; the narrative pulls you in and keeps you intrigued all the way through.

I admire books that speak about parts of history that others would prefer to keep hidden, and this book tells the heartbreaking story of people whose voices would otherwise remain unheard. Well written, with wonderful characters, it’s a great read I highly recommend.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08XMY518W/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08XMY518W/

#BookReview for Trapped by Kristina Beck

My review for Trapped by Kristina Beck, 5/5 stars.  It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I always enjoy reading Kristina Beck’s stories – they’re gritty contemporary romances that hit all your emotions! This one starts with a shocking event that has repercussions on all the characters’ lives.

Charli is an interior designer who has a successful TV show. Kellan used to work for her father, and took over the business when his boss died. Both have led separate lives until that fateful day. But both are filled with guilt over what happened, and find it hard to talk about their feelings. Will love win through?

Kristina Beck writes books that leave you emotionally battered, yet uplifted, and hopeful about life and love. She’s not afraid to tackle tough topics, but does so in a sensitive way that keeps you turning the pages. Each character has a journey to make before finding true love, and you are drawn into the story with every revelation and twist, on tenterhooks right up to the end. Highly recommend!

https://geni.us/TrappedEH

#BookReview for The Man Who Loved Spiders by Brian O’Gorman

My review for The Man Who Loved Spiders by Brian O’Gorman, 5/5 stars.

When Brian O’Gorman said he was going to write a memoir, I couldn’t wait to get the chance to read it. Since creating my Meet the Authors group on Facebook, his comments on the daily question post have left me crying with laughter. But as always, behind every great story there can be sadness, trauma, and a fight to survive. In The Man Who Loved Spiders, Brian bares his soul and talks frankly about his mental health, coping with being bi-polar, and his journey to becoming the man he is now.

There is no doubt that O’Gorman is a fantastic story-teller. Whether you’re listening to him talk or reading one of his books, he has a way of keeping you hooked on his every word. Having read most of his other books, I often wondered how he creates such a rich variety of characters and makes everyday situations so fascinating. This memoir answered that question.

It takes a unique gift to be able to make a reader cry with laughter at an anecdote one moment, then literally cry at the heartbreaking unfairness of life the next, but O’Gorman achieves this with ease. His stories are entertaining, yes, but also carry the sadness and trauma which led to devastating moments in his life. It can be a difficult read at times, but it shows the gritty reality behind the term ‘mental health’. A must read that I would recommend to everyone. Thank you, Brian, for sharing your story.

https://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Loved-Spiders-English-ebook/dp/B09796DXMB
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Who-Loved-Spiders-English-ebook/dp/B09796DXMB

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