Full English

– by Rachel Spangler

Thanks to Rachael Byrne (Les Rêveur), I won a couple of books from Bywater Books months ago and the ever-lovely Salem West (you rock, mate!) let me choose something that wasn’t published yet then but was listed, and that was Rachel Spangler‘s “Full English,” which is released on the pub’s site now and widely on 12th February. So, I received it and basically breezed through it. What a lovely and delightfully quaint, heartwarming story, indeed!

First off, the cover. Ok, someone, just give the incomparably gifted Ann McMan ALL the awards already! Just look at the cover! The colours! The lavenders! So vivid that I could literally smell me favourite scent amongst all flowers (because it doesn’t smell floral at all, thank heavens!) – in the name of the ENGLISH lavender! Yes, I stress on the “English” type because the French ones…well, I’ll let Spangler’s words (through Brogan) from the book elaborate why because when I read it I let out a chuckle because that’s exactly how I feel about the comparison! Anyway, the always eye-catching McMan cover, alone, only increased me already-excited feel about “Full English” (because I was curious about Spangler’s debut story set in England!). And Spangler sure didn’t disappoint! And well done, Ms. McMan!

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Compass Rose

– by Anna Burke

After a captivating read of Anna Burke‘s latest novel, “Thorn,” obviously I HAD to read her debut work, “Compass Rose.” The critics were right. By gosh, what a fantastic, thrilling, captivating ride indeed! This swashbuckling action-adventure where I got to read about pirates, mercs, and the military all converging in the high seas (not to mention monsters!), marking their territories and warring for more was exceptionally depicted with persistently vivid visualisations of each and every situation, environment, surroundings, all described with such realism that I was transported to every scene that Burke created, like I was there meself, observing every action and sequence….virtually!

Burke’s “Compass Rose,” at times, was reminiscent of Jules Verne’s classic sea voyage adventure literature, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea,” and at times reminded me of “The Pirates of the Carribean,” for me. Except, Burke’s voyage was infinitely better for me, imho, because of many factors, namely, all the badarse, kick-arse leading characters were WOMEN! Bloody hell YES! Having expressed just how much I loved Burke’s literary, lyrical writing style in “Thorn,” Burke continued to impress me to no end with her brilliant knack for creating a glorious sense of music in her richly descriptive, heart-tugging words in every scenario and dialogue/monologue that somehow transformed into lyrical notes in me head as I read on!

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