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Reviews Written by
Linda Acaster (Yorkshire, UK)

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IKEA BRADA - Laptop support, black - 42x31 cm
IKEA BRADA - Laptop support, black - 42x31 cm
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Price: £6.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple is best, 29 May 2017
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Simple is best. Bought to help push me back into my chair rather than stooping over the laptop's keyboard. It works. What else is there to say?


Laid In Earth (The Georgia Pattison Mysteries)
Laid In Earth (The Georgia Pattison Mysteries)
Price: £3.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not over until She sings, 21 May 2017
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Georgia Pattison steps up for another glam do in another country pile, this time singing more Mozart than she can stomach, and giving full vent via her acerbic asides, but that soon becomes the least of her problems. She dismisses the hysterical pronouncements of the country house archivist as just that, until the poor woman meets a rather gruesome end in the kitchen of Georgia’s new home near Worcester – sited as some sort of warning. But why? And does this mean Georgia might be next? No one seems to give a damn, not the house staff, not the police. Someone on high is blocking any investigation. Georgia takes umbrage and refuses to allow dead archivists to lay quiet in their earth.

I like Georgia because although she comes over as a somewhat highly-strung opera type with a fine line in wit, in reality she has a keen mind and a backbone of steel to go with that acerbic tongue. Absolutely no one is going to put one over on her. Driven as much by her own guilt at ignoring the poor dead archivist, she refuses to move on until she can unravel the mystery.

A damned good read with a mass of clues and a platter of red herrings. Enjoy. I did.


Mistress of the Mirror and Other Stories
Mistress of the Mirror and Other Stories
Price: £1.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Suspend your disbelief here, 21 May 2017
An excellent short collection of Fantasy stories, giving both a wry smile and lighting the imagination to possibilities of "life after the story".


Sir Baldwin and the Christmas Ghosts
Sir Baldwin and the Christmas Ghosts
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable romp, 21 May 2017
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This novella follows Sofia, daughter of renowned exorcist, Yolande (see novel, "The Dark Maiden") who is trying to come to terms with living in the shadow of her mother's name while doubting her own, lesser, psychic abilities. Attempting to reach her parents across the snow-swept landscape in the wake of plague, she seeks solace overnight in the hall of young knight, Baldwin, beset by both the restless dead and lack of the living after returning to find his family and many of the villagers dead. Why had his father's bastard child by a serf been spared when his own kin were not? Why have the remnants of his father's supposed loyal workers stolen the food and the silver? His anger is a light around him and Sofia realises the fault lies as much with what Baldwin isn't as what has happened.

This is a great morality tale about making the best of what life delivers and seeing oneself as other see others - and making the best of that, too. Pacey and full of the mores and rituals of medieval England.


Dark Maiden
Dark Maiden
Price: £3.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 21 May 2017
This review is from: Dark Maiden (Kindle Edition)
A high mistress of the Mediaeval Romantic Suspense, with `Dark Maiden' Lindsay Townsend brings to vivid life a tale of faith, humility and belonging among those of society largely ignored by both history and fiction. No pampered lords or damsels here, safe in their castles of stone.

Dressed in men's clothing and well able to use the sacred bow of Saint Sebastian to root out demons and Man's evil, and bring the restless dead within God's grace, Yolande walks alone tied by the Church to an enigmatic but blessed mission of Seven. It is Geraint, itinerant Fool and tumbler, who is bewitched by her sense of vision and her self-belief, and in her company learns to see in himself what he can become.

A romance? Yes, but don't look here for mere sultry looks and fluttering hearts. The air between the lovers sparks with wise-cracks as they travel afoot along the bridleways of an England beset by plague and worry. Villages and hamlets in this true land aren't quaint, but of wattle & daub and midden heaps where families try to cultivate an existence as much from the greenwood as their field-strips, and priests question themselves and their faith in the face of pestilence and death.

I found the detail fascinating, from the dual use of plants and scriptures for medicinal purposes, to the mores of the period, to the vivid descriptions of sunlit dells carpeted with heady-scented violets, and the loneliness of a hill tower from another age casting a darkness through life and soul.

It was intriguing, too, to draw from Yolande's and Geraint's thoughts and actions what, through our 21st century prism, we'd now term psychology and detective work, as well as the intrinsic Mediaeval belief in the Devil's ability to turn men from the path of a righteousness that had less to do with cerebral enlightenment and more to do with aiding their fellow man. It's a measure of the author's skills that for the reader credibility and the suspension of disbelief were maintained throughout.

As Yolande and Geraint, and the imminent arrival of their child, travel with their newly acquired cart into the greenwood, I hope not to be waving them goodbye. They and their world are too good to lose and should be the start of a series. highly recommended.


Kin of Cain: A Short Bernicia Tale
Kin of Cain: A Short Bernicia Tale
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars My first, but not my last by this author, 20 Mar. 2017
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I was pulled towards this short on two fronts, the historical period and the rather obvious link to the epic Anglo-Saxon tale, Beowulf. The story is cracking, and knowing the storyline detracted nothing from the conveying. The author has a splendid grasp of the period and really made it live. I’m now gearing up to start the series. Highly recommended.


Blood Crow: Love and War A Bloody Affair
Blood Crow: Love and War A Bloody Affair
Price: £2.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Supernatural American Civil War novel, 14 Mar. 2017
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Wars are bloody affairs; civil wars are notorious bloodbaths, and the American Civil War was no exception. But forget the set piece battles of the history books, think instead of the ordinary people trying to keep body and soul together as hordes of ill-fed and ill-disciplined conscripts of both armies marauder over your town and farmland. Add in the local “justice” system keen to keep itself in the ascendancy no matter what, and those more than willing to sacrifice their own ideals on the whim of the moment, or simply because someone was in the way, and therein is the recipe for what is now referred to as post traumatic stress syndrome.

Cleve Sylcox sets his novel in his home of St Charles County set between the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers. It didn’t become a famous battleground, but it saw its share of stand-offs and skirmishes, and the heavy guns were never far away.

Gavin the blacksmith can do nothing to halt the hanging a young woman for killing in self-defence the drunken, abusive husband to whom she’d been sold. He feels for her younger sister, Constance, who seems to stoically witness the spectacle. Except that is not what is going on in her head, and as the war begins to take its toll in rape, murder and destruction, the curse of a old Choctaw woman, herself driven from her lands, begins to take hold until no one can quite separate what is real from what is not.

A good story well worth the read.


Sherlock Holmes & The Oakwood Grange Affair
Sherlock Holmes & The Oakwood Grange Affair
Price: £2.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy pastiche, 5 Mar. 2017
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This is a cracking story, full of twists and turns, and written at the pace of the original canon. The period detail is both fascinating and non-intrusive; the vernacular is spot on. Dr Watson's fussy yet understated narrative in chronicling Sherlock's exploits is deftly conveyed, and the diction of the great man himself cannot be faulted. Wiggins of the Baker Street Irregulars is a star. If you are an aficionado of the original stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle you won't be disappointed. Highly recommended.


The Bastard Wonderland
The Bastard Wonderland
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't read like a debut, 13 Feb. 2017
‘The Bastard Wonderland’ fulfils its title. Is it SteamPunk? Fantasy? Alternative History? Like its self-feeding airships, it hovers of all. Most of its sustenance, though, comes from the grittiness of real life seen in fading black & white photos of our touchable history, where workers can be turned into conscripts and citizens into collateral damage in the blink of an eye or the sweep of a pen. The forest-dwelling keepers of the Datyas hardly get a better press.

This is a novel about rising above the miasma, about self-hope and finding a meaning to one’s life and the lives of others, conveyed with a dry humour and a bawdy banter befitting the characters and their world. Highly recommended.


You Are Here: Tales of Cartographic Wonders
You Are Here: Tales of Cartographic Wonders
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Read, 30 Dec. 2016
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How can the theme of maps and mapping be interpreted? Let me count the eighteen ways. None of the stories failed to engage, and all hooked me from the first line. This anthology is an education in writing short, in writing historical, in writing military SF, in writing within highly detailed research, in writing normal world. It also proves a direct line into the inner workings of the writers’ minds. And what fascinating places those proved to be. Read and enjoy.


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