eBook Review: The Black Star of Kingston

The Black Star of Kingston

The Black Star of Kingston by S.D. Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb: A century before Heather and Picket’s adventures in The Green Ember, a displaced community fights for hope on the ragged edge of survival.

My place beside you,
My blood for yours.
Till the Green Ember rises,
Or the end of the world.

Whitson Mariner and Fleck Blackstar face old fears and new enemies, forging a legend that will echo through the ages.

Old wars haunt. New enemies threaten. An oath is born.

A hero rises.

My Review: Black Star is set 100 years prior to Heather and Pickett being born, so I found myself in a dilemma. The author recommends that after The Green Ember, we should read The Black Star of Kingston. However, for me that would mean leaving the characters I had grown attached to and starting again with a new set of characters. That didn’t sit well for me. I like to stay with the characters I know.

But I started reading Black Star. I did so with a little defiance in the back of my mind. If I didn’t like the new characters, I’d dump Black Star and return to Heather and Pickett’s story.

Black Star started out well, and carried me right through to the end of the book. It was a much faster, smoother read, in my opinion. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that I enjoyed this set of characters more!

This book felt more natural. I’m not sure why that was. Perhaps the author didn’t feel the need to “set up” the world and the characters for the reader, because that had already been done in The Green Ember. Whatever the reason, I really, really enjoyed Black Star.

Now I have another dilemma. Do I stick to the Tales of Old Natalia series or return to The Green Ember stories. Decisions, decisions.

eBook Review: The Green Ember

The Green Ember (The Green Ember #1)

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb: Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.

Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.

Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?

My Review: I chose this book to read for a couple of reasons:

  1. the book cover is great, and
  2. the rabbits on the cover made me think of Watership Down (which I loved).

Yes, there are rabbits in Watership Down and there are rabbits in The Green Ember, but I wouldn’t say the books are similar apart from that. The rabbits in The Green Ember wear cloths, build ships, make furniture and live life like a human.

That’s not a bad thing. The Green Ember is not Watership Down. Just like Watership Down is not The Green Ember. They are both stories involving rabbits. They are both different from my normal read in some way. I enjoyed them both, for different reasons.

The Green Ember started with a kite game. It didn’t last long, but it did take a little while for the action to start. However, once the story really begins, it was interesting. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. I believe in going with the flow and being accepting. Why shouldn’t a rabbit carry a sword? In their world, they can and they do.

Heather and Pickett are adorable. They display manners and loyalty, and portray a family unit that protects and care for each other. I like that because I think many books for younger readers sometimes step away from these things. And I believe young readers need to be reading exciting adventures, along with good morals.

As is often the case with a first book in a series, there is a lot of set up happening, which can slow an adventure down. However, the second half of the book moved much faster and gripped me much more.

As I said, I enjoyed this book. I will be reading more. In fact, I have already completed Black Star (review to follow soon) and I’m into Ember Falls now. Recommended.

eBook Review: The Path of Swords

The Path of Swords (The Song of Amhar #1)The Path of Swords (The Song of Amhar #1) by Martin Swinford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb: “Luan ap Garioch, second son of the house of Artran, this is the day of choosing. How do you choose?”

On the last day of the summer of his fourteenth year, Luan takes the first step on The Path of Swords. He has been told that the path will be hard. He knows that it will lead him into danger. The reality is beyond all his imagining. The Path of Swords is the first novella in the Song of Amhar fantasy series. Set in an alternate Iron Age where the world of the spirit is always close by, the series follows the adventures of Luan, a boy training to become one of the Klaideem, elite warriors who dedicate their life to the service of the kingdom.

My Review: I’ve been reading all sorts of books over the past year or so, and when I downloaded this one I thought it would be a good chance to revisit a fantasy story. I love fantasy. And this book didn’t disappoint me.

It was refreshing. The start of each chapter had a short ‘introduction’ in a different voice. It sounds weird and off putting, but it wasn’t. I’d like to elaborate, but I don’t want to give anything away. Anyway, after the short introduction (a paragraph or two, at most), we would return to the actual storyline and the voice of the main character. I liked the way the author accomplished this. It was well done.

The story itself felt ‘classic’, old world. Set totally in a fantasy world of the author’s making, I felt myself slip into the world and observing its ways and its people. The main character was young and learning about life, as we learned about him and his world. I believe this book to be a solid start for a series and I already have the second book loaded and ready to go.


eBook Review: A Once and Future Love

A Once and Future Love

A Once and Future Love by Anne Kelleher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb:

England, 2014. When Richard Lambert’s beloved wife dies, he thinks he will never find love again. Until, while exploring a medieval tower, he falls from the steps—and into another time…

England, 1214. When Richard wakes, he’s in the body of his ancestor, who is near death from battle. As his wife nurses him back to health, she finds he is not the cruel man she knew. And he discovers a second chance—with his one and only love…

My review

In all honesty, I didn’t expect much from this book. I purchased it from Bookbud for 99 cents. I had no expectations. The only reason I purchased it was because I felt like reading a book where someone from the here and now goes back in time.

All I can say is that I am glad I succumbed to my own wanting, and I am glad it was this book I decided on. Why? Because I thoroughly enjoyed it, that’s why.

From the start I found I liked the main character and was drawn into his story. When he went back in time, there was nothing about the situation that I couldn’t easily accept. And why not just accept the transition, we all know it’s not possible to really travel back in time. This is fantasy and it is a story, it’s not reality, and I for one am happy to accept whatever the author suggests on how it happened. This meant that I could relax and enjoy the journey. And I did.

And once back in the thirteenth century, I felt the author did a great job in showing how the character coped and adapted. I think about how I would react and believe it would be the most difficult thing to accept and blend in to.

Anyway, the book was well written. The characters likable, or not likeable, whichever the case may be. 😀 And, I felt a 21st century reader could get a decent glimpse of life in the 13th century.

I will be looking for other books written by this author. Recommended.

Free Ebooks Available – Limited Time

As you know, there are three books in The Land of Miu series. They are:

  • The Land of Miu
  • The King’s Riddle
  • The Lion Gods

All three books will be available for FREE download from Smashwords from 12.01am on 25 December 2018 until 11.59pm on 1 January 2019. That is US Pacific Time. As I live in Australia, I honestly don’t know what that means for the rest of the world. But I urge you to visit my profile and download them all, as soon as they become available.

For your convenience, here’s the link to my profile on Smashwords:

And if you do read and enjoy my books, please take a moment or two to write a review. It helps other readers find my work. Thank you.

Available for Pre-order: Domino Effect: A Dark Novel

Domino Effect CoverDomino Effect, is a dark novel showing a family in despair after a loved one dies by suicide and the effect one person’s decision has on those left behind. The story is fictitious, but the emotions and some of the scenes are based on the author’s real experiences.

Publication Date: 7 January 2019
Length: approximately 334 pages
Format: eBook (currently mobi, but epub will also be available later)
ISBN: 978-0-9943362
Availability: Exclusive to Amazon until 7 April 2019
Price: $3.99


I am super excited to announce that my latest book will be released on 7 January 2019 and is available for pre-order from Amazon.

50% of all proceeds from pre-order sales will be donated to Beyondblue in Australia.

Although my previous publications have been for young readers, this book is for the mature audience. Themes include suicide, depression and grief. The book includes a bonus section on suicide awareness.

Please help me support suicide awareness by purchasing a copy of the book and/or sharing this post.

Thank you.

Full Description:

Owen has taken his own life. His family has no idea why.

Kirsti, his twin sister, is overwhelmed with feelings of confusion and finds herself disconnected from everyone and everything–her family, her friends, her job, her life. She cannot sleep, cannot think, cannot stand the way people tiptoe around her. But it is the images that she cannot let go of.

Jenny, his mother, is consumed with guilt and fear. She didn’t see the signs and didn’t know her son needed help, so what kind of mother does that make her? And what about her two surviving children? Not to mention the darkness that has enveloped and threatens her family. That scares her more than anything.

Tim, his older brother, is angry. He wants to be as far away from his family as he can get. But his mood has changed, he no longer cares about anything. He finds solace in the bottom of a bottle and in bags of illegal tablets.

Domino Effect, is a dark novel showing a family in despair after a loved one dies by suicide and the effect one person’s decision has on those left behind. The story is fictitious, but the emotions and some of the scenes are based on the author’s real experiences.

Purchase from any Amazon store.

Here are links to the three main stores:

Go to Amazon AU

Go to Amazon US

Go to Amazon UK


eBook Review: 13 Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this on 18 August 2018. My reviews are now up-to-date.

The blurb: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself–a truth he never wanted to face.

My review: OK, let me start by saying I read this book because I’ve been affected by suicide. It’s a grim, depressing subject. However, I am a firm believer that we have to raise suicide awareness. And let me also say that I’ve had a hard time writing a review for this book.

Part of me feels that in the wrong hands, this book would guide a vulnerable mind in the wrong direction. The book screams take your own life but point the finger at all the terrible people in your life first. How is that helpful? And when she finally turns to an authority figure, she doesn’t get help. Although I know some people don’t “hear” what’s being said, this was a teacher who should be trained for this type of thing. How is that offering options or raising awareness?

The other part of me recognises that the book is trying to say that it’s usually not one big thing that pushes someone to suicide but many things that, together and over time, make you feel numb and lost. Which in turn, takes aware the feeling that there are other options. And we mustn’t overlook the other lesson to be learned here; consequences. We must be aware that what we say and do to others has consequences. A joke is only a joke if all parties know it’s a joke. Ultimately, we are all in charge of our own decision making and must live with the consequences.

And yet another part of me is whispering that the book isn’t meant to focus on Hannah’s suicide, it was meant to focus on the reason she is telling these people what their part in her decision was; and it was her hope that knowing this reason would change the person’s outlook on life and the way they interact with others. In other words, make them a better person. The ending of the book proves that at least one person did see the error of their ways and change.

In all honesty, I didn’t mind the book whilst reading it, but now I have to think about how the book would be received by someone with suicidal thoughts, and I must admit that worries me. I usually talk about character building, plot lines and the author’s style of writing when writing reviews, but on this occasion none of that seems relevant.

It’s a well written book, but my gut tells me that the wrong message has taken the highlighted position, which is a shame.

I originally gave this book 4 out of 5 stars, but having written this review and gotten my head around what the book delivered, I feel I have to lower that rating to 3 out of 5 stars.