Book Review: The Locksmith, by Barbara Howe

Reviewed this for Booksellers NZ – Reposting my review from their site…

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_locksmithWho is the Locksmith, and what role does he play in this fantasy tale? You will keep this question in mind as you read through the adventures of Lucinda Guillierre, a young girl living with her stepsister Claire and her stepmother, in the magical world of Frankland, ruled by The Office.

The Office was created in historic times by the Great Coven, which established the four offices of Air, Fire, Earth, and Water, and their leaders. Each Office has a Guild, for the study and training of Witches and Wizards of each element.

Unsettled by her lack of magical progress, she resigns herself to a future as a normal person, but agrees to take her sister Claire to challenge the path to meet the Fire Warlock, to have a wish granted. She takes with her, her only true possessions her father left her —two large books…

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Reviewing ‘Soul of Dust’ by Adam Millard

MILLARD_Soul of Dust
So Jack Bridge tells us, as he pauses a moment in a tearing race after a daemon in the opening chapters of this paranormal, magical, fantasy cum horror story; a great mash-up of genres–which, dammit, works.

Jack tells his story as if we are his companion, well used to his mannerisms and vocabulary (occasionally R13 rated). The conversational, sardonic at times tone makes this book pleasantly readable–even through scenes which are not, exactly, pleasant.

I loved it! Millard’s writing turns Jack into a real person – though he’s not,  with real purpose – as he has: to rid the world of daemons, spooks, sidhes, vamps, wolves… He works alone, from a shabby office, and carries only one ‘weapon’–and an effective one at that, and enjoys using it:

“At times … I really enjoy my job.”

This is an “eyes-wide” and at times a “laugh-out-loud” read…well suited to fans of Urban Fantasy, the Paranormal, Sleuthing, Investigators, Wizards, Demons, or Magic.

“…shooting me a smile that could melt hearts. Not mine, though. Mine was made of stone, my soul nothing more than dust. Maybe one day that would change, but not today.”

Reviewed for
Roane Black on White

ISBN:  1519691815
ISBN13: 9781519691811

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The Human Cure – Tracy Auerbach

If you’re a fan of vampire stories – from Bram Stoker to 9781937546069
Stephanie Myers and beyond– Tracy Auerbach’s take on the mythical horror characters will give you a different viewpoint from any you’ve held till now. Fictional (well, of course), for young adults as well as the more mature reader, the story places a real “twist” on the myths we have heard and read.

One immortal vampire creates a haven for his descendants–multiple generations with whom he has a mystical connection. In an underground village their “food” is provided–the villagers held as livestock. But one of his offspring is different.

Within each of the first few chapters, Ms Auerbach introduces us to one of the major characters, in which we learn their foibles and some of the connections between them. So far, so usual.

But then the author belts us with emotive scenes of fear, greed, power and powerlessness, and a gradually building romance, as she builds the tale to its climactic ending, via sacrifice and self-sacrifice.

She presents a whole new outlook on the vampire lifestyle, (dropping in the occasional reference to vampire life as seen on tv/vcr)). These vampires are distinctive – created not in the way of which we’re accustomed to reading. And then there’s one who likes to make sure he leaves his kill site neat and clean!

If Auerbach’s goal was to present a softer side of the vampire “life”, she has succeeded, in a delightfully entertaining way.

Published by 48fourteen as an eBook, and print.

ISBN-13: 9781937546069
USBN-10: 1-937546-06-3

Available from…

Amazon Logo_CutDown_d404ba24 Amazon



A Taste of Gold, by Deryn Pittar

A Taste of Gold Cover by Sour Cherry Designs
In this cross-over of genre for the author, she has introduced two characters –  twins Levi and Jason, whose skills give them a mental telepathic communication link, and a sensing of precious minerals—gems or metals.
As college age scholars of geology, they are in New Zealand to explore the Coromandel area for its old gold stores. Meeting – unintentionally – two most unsavoury characters, each in different but linked circumstances, initiates a stream of events of excitement, fear, thrills and chills. Criminals both, working together, are thwarted by the boys’ skills. When their booty is turned in to the police by the twins, the criminals determine to find the twins and learn how they managed to find their stashed booty.
While out of town and of the reach of the criminals, they follow the sounds of something precious calling to them, and find an underground chamber with a deep lake spreading across its floor. With the cave piled around with gemstones and gold in the rough, the boys are ecstatic – until the hoard’s guardian arises from the lakes’ depths – a Tāniwha, for whom the chamber is home and the hoard is treasure.
He allows the boys a few of the gemstones – which talk together and to him – to ensure he will learn if they tell anyone of his cave and contents. Those three gems are to become life-savers for Levi in yet another encounter with the two crooks who kidnap him and lock him in a country shed.
What they want him for, how he escapes, how the boys face the local police who have been seeking them, how Levi overcomes his shyness and timidity … you will be riveted to the book to read.
An Evernight Teen publication, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-77130-667-6
Available now from Evernight Teens:
And from Amazon:   

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When you’ve read A Taste of Gold, come back and Rate the Book (not this post, please).
Thank you!


Puzzle—how can your mother walk off on an errand and never be seen or heard of again? 
How can you, as a young teenager in your final secondary school year, focus on the expectations to get back into the usual cycle of school and friends? How do you cope with the turmoil in the neighbourhood, with police popping in and out regularly,  and your mother’s Missing Person poster plastered everywhere?
By taking each day one at a time, facing stress, argument, feelings  of futility. By accepting help from unexpected quarters, of unexpected kind, welcome or not.  
Add to the mix of the mash-up – your father, Phil,  shows himself as being totally at odds of what you thought your father was. Not just a car dealer, but also someone who would have ruined the marriage and family even without your mother, Tiffany, going missing.
It takes time, good friends, a wise school counsellor, principal and coach, and desparate attempts to follow up on clues that aren’t clues… 
Could you successsfully cope? Would you come out of it as a changed person? 
Adam shows us how he coped, struggled, and came through, in this gripping tale of any child’s nightmare. In the more-than capable hands of Lee Murray, we see Adam’s turmoil both from the outside and from his inner self. I especiallly enjoyed Murray’s natural way of bring the modern adolescents’ comfortable use of Instant Messaging into the novel as another channel for communication between Adam and his friends.

A damned good read for any teen, boy or girl – with my whole-hearted recommendation.
ISBN (print) 978-0-473-26600-4
ISBN (epub) 978-0-473-26601-1
ISBN (mobi) 978-0-473-26608-0
Published by Leapy Sheep Books of Tauranga
©Lee Murray, 2013
Reviewer’s note: Buy links will be added later.

Do Comment about this entry or about the author, or the book. If you have read the book itself, then Rate the Book (not this post, please). Thank you