Just to make it clear, this is not a contest that people can vote on. This is an entirely subjective and preference-driven selection process. Book Squirrel knows what he likes, and that’s what he reads. When he reads, he always leaves a review. And on the Book Squirrel blog, he awards gold, silver or bronze acorns instead of a star rating system.
At the end of the year, he chooses the best of the books he has read and reviewed, and gives some nice shiny awards to the wonderful authors who entertained and enlightened him in the past twelve months.
This year, gold and silver awards were given to books in 20 genres, across a variety of age ranges, interests and styles.
While Book Squirrel is fully committed to being as fair and impartial as a squirrel can be, so you can be sure that the winners of Golden Squirrel Awards are excellent reads, and worthy of recognition.
It can also be quite cathartic.
Let’s be honest, what day can’t be improved by a good “Arrrrrgh!” or two?
If people annoy you, you can threaten to make them walk the plank, or call them lily livered landlubbers, and nobody takes offence.
I grew up enjoying books like Treasure Island and Kidnapped!, and still enjoy a good, old-fashioned pirate story, so I thought I would share Book Squirrel’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day Book Recommendations.
In honour of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, here are three great pirate tales for your reading pleasure.
‘Fallen Into Bad CompaNy’ by Kayla Jindrich
Matthew wants nothing more than to escape from his past, but that hardly seems possible with his new apprentice. While William might be Matthew’s chance at redemption, an opportunity to pay for his mistakes, William also has a reckless streak that could ruin the new life that Matthew has built for himself. Either Matthew will pull William from piracy, or William will drag Matthew back into the dangerous world that they both come from.
I love a great historical fiction read, so when I discovered this article yesterday, I thought it well worth sharing.
I fully agree with the author’s comments about what distinguishes excellent historical fiction from the rest. There is no substitute for research and ensuring that a story is entirely consistent with the time, place and people involved.
In keeping with the encouragement to pick up a work of historical fiction, I’d like to recommend some that I have found to be excellent.
To Be A Queen by Annie Whitehead
Miriamne the Magdala by J.B. Richards
A Daffodil for Angie by Connie Lacey
Blood and Ink by DK Marley
The Artist by Lyra Shanti
I do hope you enjoy this excellent post by Steve Cochrane.
I love to read. For the past 20 years plus, I’ve read on average 150 books a year. I even keep a list in my journal of all those books, so could prove it to you if you wanted! Books on history always figure prominently on that list, but not only non-fiction. I also love the genre of historical fiction. My latest one is titled Cutting for Stone by Indian-American writer Dr. Abraham Verghese.
This book has the elements of what I value in historical fiction. It is set in Ethiopia over a period of about forty years, dealing with issues of immigration from India and set in a hospital in the capital of Addis Ababa. The first element I value is what this book has in rich measure, a well researched context. Historical context must be accurate, or the book should rather be in the science fiction…
Set in France during the first decades of the 19th century, this is a story of the struggles of the lower classes — the miserable, the dispossessed, and the dissatisfied.
While many people in the 21st century know the story because of the highly popular and quite magnificent musical theatre show, most have never read the book. It is a large novel: epic in its scope, powerful in its storytelling and heartbreaking in its story and drama.
Many of the key events of the novel were based on events and circumstances that Hugo witnessed personally, adding a depth of detail and authenticity that immerses the reader in the settings and makes them feel as they are right there, watching the events and listening to the characters’ conversations.
Admittedly, there are some passages that are moral reflections rather than narrative, but they do add depth of understanding to the social issues and conflicts experienced by the French people of the time, and cause the reader to reflect on the responsibility of those with wealth and power to ensure that those under their rule are able to live without despair. Given that it is not possible to separate a work of literature from the society and environment in which it was written, Hugo’s thought-provoking digressions remain relevant to the story overall.
One can simply watch the musical or a film adaptation, but they will not deliver the full impact of the story as it is told in the book. It’s a magnificent, wide-reaching story with themes of social justice, equality and personal redemption that are still really powerful and resonate with readers today.
Welcome everyone to my first guest blogger @theBoldMom who is a prolific reader of all things dark and wonderful. Today she will share some lovely book recommendations for Valentine’s Day.
Very often I see myself swimming between books and stories that could step in horror and dark fantasy. The limit? It certainly depends on the reader and the level of darkness they are able to absorb. I think I’m not alone on this island, so I’d like to talk about some books which fantasy and
horror lovers will enjoy, each one from a different perspective.
DESERT SHADOWS by Joshua Dowidat is one of the books I have deeply enjoyed. Dowidat sets
a stage of darkness and childhood memories to afterwards, holding your hand through a forest of ghosts and demons where you can’t flee from. I’m never tired of recommending this book.
D.J. Doyle was raised by pot-smoking hippies and spent her days worshipping pagan deities in the HellFire Club and her nights watching horror movies and reading horror books. She now lives with her family in a treehouse, preying on unsuspecting travellers, and where she likes nothing better than coming up with ideas for new stories and plotting her next novel. Some of this might have been made up.
She has written many subgenres of horror from comedy to extreme to sci-fi. So far, her novels are based on Irish Mythology and Folklore, intertwining tales from the past and present. Her extreme horror stories go inside the minds of serial killers, which was not an easy task.
Celtic Curse: Newgrange
Haunted for years by dreams of death and mysterious rituals, Jess Young travels to Ireland in search of answers. Her search becomes a race against time when her friend is abducted by Celtic Druids bent on resurrecting the Morrigan; the Celtic goddess of war and death.
Reader Review – This is a dark, gritty and fatalistic story of ancient beliefs, rituals and powers that grapple for control of the future of the world as we know it. Doyle builds the story masterfully, complete with twists that take the reader’s breath away and a sense of urgency that grows as the action escalates.
Christ On A Bike
Father Jack and his pontification of priests are on their travels to conduct an exorcism. Demons can lurk in every corner. Can Father Jack overcome the demons within?
Reader Review – Why can I not give 6 stars???? This unique little short was bloody brilliant! I have to say I have never laughed as hard as I did when reading how Fr. Jack referred to his team. This terrific little short is like the show Father Ted on steroids, it has all the humor, all the sass and a s**t load of horror with enough creep factor to give you the heebeegeebees.
Blurb – A depraved past has shaped a man into the twisted serial killer he is today. His obsession with the color Red, and his lust for blood, leads to inventive ways to kill his captives. Who is his next victim, and can she be his salvation?
Review – This is extreme horror at its finest. It was a quick throat punch with a kick to the nuts finale. Violent and gory with a truly twisted psychopath at the helm, Red is a must read.
WordyNerdBird’s note: I have read and thoroughly enjoyed many of D.J. Doyle’s horror books. My favourite is still A Celtic Curse: Banshee, so here is a bonus link!
Fiona Cooke is a writer, editor, poet and blogger living in the Midlands of Ireland.
Fiona has four books published on Amazon and blogs at unusualfiction.wordpress.com about her work and anything that interests or inspires her. A Tolkien obsessive, she lives for music festivals and all things horror related. She hopes to publish her latest horror novella – Death Dues in the near future.
Fiona Cooke writes gothic horror, contemporary horror, Literary horror prose and ghost stories. She is also compiling a collection of gothic poetry for release in October 2019.
Originally posted on Red Cape Publishing: February is Women in Horror Month, and this is why we bring to you a fantastic selection of books from female authors, in a variety of sub-genres. Have a browse, pick up a few new books, and maybe even discover your new favourite author. Starblood by Carmilla Voiez Star…
February is Women in Horror Month, and this is why we bring to you a fantastic selection of books from female authors, in a variety of sub-genres. Have a browse, pick up a few new books, and maybe even discover your new favourite author.
Starblood by Carmilla Voiez
Star craves freedom, but her lover, Satori, refuses to let her go. He casts a spell to make her love him again, opening a gateway through which Lilith, mother of demons, enters their lives.
Lilith serves no man. Instead she seduces Star, assuring her that there is no shame in love, only completion. Thus begins a strange and terrible love triangle that leads them to Scotland and the Cairngorm mountains. Purchase here
One of the most relatable scenes in Gilbert & Sullivan’s musical H.M.S Pinafore, which I had the pleasure of directing in September, is where Buttercup sings these lines to Captain Corcoran:
“Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream; Highlows pass as patent leathers; Jackdaws strut in peacock’s feathers.”
The Captain appears puzzled, as though thinking about this for the first time, before replying,
“Very true, So they do!”
It’s a common thing. As we go through life, we discover that people and things are frequently not what they seem to be, and what we understand to be the truth of our own experience often turns out to be something quite different instead. Life is as full of illusions as it is of genuine experiences.
False friends abound while finding a true and loyal one is like discovering gold. Trials hurt, but then deliver unexpected strength and blessings. People put up smokescreens to hide their true intentions or feelings; and only sometimes do we ever discover why. The world seems hateful until someone delivers light and love in a surprising way.
The poems in this new collection explore some of the illusions and deceptions people experience in their lives, the clarity and wisdom gained from hindsight, and the lessons we can learn from them.
Both the title of the book and its blurb come from the poem titled ‘The Simulacrum’. I considered using the title of the poem as the book title because it’s such a fascinating word which does, in fact, mean ‘a representation or image of something’. I wanted to go beyond that, though, because the book is really about the multitude of ways that something or someone might not be exactly what we think, or what we are led to believe, rather than focusing on a physical representation.
“Smoke and shadows yield to glimpses of light— Only then we begin to see: When we learn to perceive things as they are, We can have peace with whatever will be.”
So, without further ado, here is the cover of this new book, which will release on January 6th. It is available for preorder in all major outlets via this link.
I wasn’t actually expecting that to happen before tomorrow. In some miraculous twist, Draft2Digital and Amazon both published my book into stores faster and more smoothly than ever before. The alternative is that I’m getting better at this, which is also a possibility, although I doubt that the skill of any individual can make those wheels turn any faster.
‘Curious Times‘ is the sequel to ‘Curious Things‘, and delivers five more stories about a black cat, superstition and strange events.
Friday, the magical black cat with a devilish sense of justice, returns in a second collection of macabre and darkly humorous stories. Set at significant times of the year, these stories celebrate key events while Friday delivers his own brand of feline justice to people who fully deserve what’s coming to them.
If you have ever wished for revenge, or taken pleasure in seeing horrible people get their just desserts, this book is for you.
‘Curious Times’ is on its way into all the stores I can possibly put it into and, like all my other books, will be widely available as both a paperback and an eBook.