The City of Light: The Secret Of The Tirthas

Book Review by Pauline Reid

The City of Light: The Secret Of The Tirthus by Steve Griffin

Blurb
A portal to India, hidden in a mysterious garden in the English countryside.

A demonic killer, preying on Indian street children.

A lonely English girl, the only one who can stop the killing.

After inheriting her great-uncle’s cottage, Lizzie Jones discovers a magical portal to Kashi, the Indian City of Light, concealed in his strange garden. Soon she begins to suspect a mysterious intruder might be the terrifying killer, the Pisaca of Kashi, using the portal to evade capture. Lizzie must act to save the children – but what can she do?


What I Thought Of This Book
Paulines Personal Picks, bought from Amazon.com as an ebook, this is a YA Fantasy Fiction/Middle Grade book series. Well right away I was drawn into this book with food on the table, yes, this time it’s beans on toast! So naturally at lunch time I had to have a feast of baked beans, but mine were with fish in a double decker sandwhich. I was so pleased that a dog was featured in this book, and Mr Tubs, as he is called has come to be a friendly animal that develops onto my pages with licks included (dry licks of course). Thank goodness Mr Tubs doesn’t jump on you, I don’t think I could stand my kindle jumping around.

Ok, so now let’s get serious now, you know I’ve always wanted to go to India, and this was my first chance, a glimpse of what it must be like to go there, Steve took me to a place I will never get to see in a life time … India, the Ganges, the way the people dressed, the gnats, the burials drifting out in the sacred river, the smells of incense, the smell of raw sewerage, all so real. We are lucky as readers to be transported to two places in this story, Lizzie finds a portal, at first, like any reasonable person would, she can’t believe that this is real, she must be dreaming, but reasonable explanations says she’s not jumping from England, to India. In India – a killer on the lose. Lizzie, puzzled, overwhelmed yet very curious sets out to find out more, but some very strange things are also happening back where she lives in Herefordshire, England, when she finds people she has seen in India now in her home town. Had they used the portal too? As readers we hurriedly read along to see if Lizzie can make sense of the situation. Is she being used in some kind of witch hunt?

Quote I Enjoyed



This was quite an entertaining read, such imagination was used to create quite an adventure. This is book 1 of a 5 book series. It will be quite intriguing to see where Lizzie will end up next.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 star rating

Recommendation
I would like to recommend this book to any YA Fantasy Fiction Fan out there, to anyone who loves the culture of India, to anyone who loves witch hunts, anyone who loves reading middle grade books and anyone who is a fan of reading series.
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The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

Book Review by Pauline Reid 🦁 The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis

Blurb
THEY OPEN A DOOR AND ENTER A WORLD

Narnia…a land frozen in eternal winter…a country waiting to be set free.

Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia–a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change…and a great sacrifice.

🦁
My Thoughts
I loved the idea of jumping into my wardrobe and coming out the other side of it as a different world, I’m not keen on snow though, my preference would have been sunshine, flowers, butterflies and laughter in a forest scene.

I loved Lucy (🤣 no I’m not talking about the TV show here) for someone who was a child she certainly sounded quite wise. I’m thinking more in the lines of the start of the book when she met the Faun and when he admitted with a river of tears that he was to catch humans and give them to the Winter Queen. Go Lucy as she went back to the wardrobe, free and alive.

Now Edward was lured into Narnia by the wicked winter witch, the Queen, by Turkish Delight. I could see what was going on there, bribing Edward with more goodies if he lured the rest of the gang, and as he goes through back to the wardrobe, he feels sick with eating so much of the stuff. Gosh, what a horrid person this witch is. However, Edward was just as horrid when Lucy was so excited telling the rest of their friends about the secret country, because he decided to say it wasn’t true. What calamity this did among them all.
So what happens next? Does Lucy shine with a capital S and her friends see that she is right and go on an adventure that’s going to give them goosebumps, wet feet and cold noses? Or are they going to believe Edward?
I do hope they make the right decisions and take their snow shoes.

5 Star Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommendation
This is classed as a classic book and would suit children, YA and fantasy Fiction lovers. This book has a variety of animals mentioned, so suitable for the animal lovers too.
🦁
Footnote – Did you know CS Lewis was good friends with JRR Tolkien? Apparently they had an informal writers club called the Inklings.
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A Quote + Podcast Review on The Dragon Sleeps

It’s as if a giant hand has sprinkled stardust over the black velvety dome of heaven

Below is my podcast channel with the latest podcast, if you want to listen to The Dragon Sleeps podcast review, Episode 6 is the one you are looking for.

Den of Dragons – Volume 11 of Crimson Cloak Anthologies Book Recommendations

A Scripted Reading of two short stories that I personally picked. The Dragon Wakes by Ellen Read, which is a short story that follows on from The Dragon Sleeps. The Beached Whale is another I chose that is from Ellen Read and is a children's story for the age group of 3 – 7 years. Thank you for taking the time to listen, until next time, Bye.
  1. Den of Dragons – Volume 11 of Crimson Cloak Anthologies
  2. Episode 10 – The Forest – A Tale Of Old Magic – by Julia Blake
  3. Episode 9 – The Heart Casts No Shadow by Susan Holt
  4. Episode 8 – Catching The Last Tram
  5. Episode 7 – Book Review – A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read and listen, I will leave you now with the book cover of, The Dragon Sleeps, until next time ……. bye. 🖐

Oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, I was wondering why

Book Review

The Forest ~ A Tale of Old Magic ~  by Julia Blake 
🔵
What This Book Is About?
Sally, Jack and Reuben, all from the village, Wyckenwood, kids that grew up together, try and tackle and get their brains around the stories of old, and the tales of  “The White Hind”.  Yes, there is something definately lurking in the forest. 
🔵
The story is based on the authors love of old folklore, legends and myths, and this book she drew heavily on the legend of The Green Man, that has intrigued her since childhood.  
🔵
There are two stories told here.   One of the present with the villagers, being introduced in such detail of people of the village and then there is the past, Julia Blake has chosen to tell the past in bold italics, and as folk tales.

🔵
My thoughts On This Book
Oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, I was wondering why there is so much fuss over this book, and now I know why!!!  Julia Blake has such great world building skills, and alot of depth was put in, into telling us readers the world she wanted us to be in.  I was also amazed at all the minute details, that Julia puts into her characters and now I know why authors like to people watch, as Julia does this to quite an astonishing degree, infact to perfection.  Julia also has a beautiful narrative style, so it’s so easy to settle down and get right on to reading it.  Julia’s pace leads the reader with ease, but with a curiosity that’s not overbearing, slowly, but leads up to quite a dramatic interest, Julia’s sense of humour comes out in this book in the shape of her character names, such as, Wally Twitchett, Molly Mole, who is known really as Granny Mole, and others.  Julia Blake’s attention to detail, her poetic style, the flow of her words and rhythm are highly commendable.
🔵
Rating System
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
🔵
Recommendation 
Yes, this book comes highly recommended by me and if you like supernatural stories, past and present stories, folk lore, legends, myths, forest and nature settings, love triangles, mysteries and thrillers, and horror, love and happy endings,  then I suggest you pick up this book, as it’s highly entertaining.

Below is the front cover plus a podcast of the same book review if you prefer to listen to it.

Thank you for stopping by, until next time, bye 🖐

Den of Dragons – Volume 11 of Crimson Cloak Anthologies Book Recommendations

A Scripted Reading of two short stories that I personally picked. The Dragon Wakes by Ellen Read, which is a short story that follows on from The Dragon Sleeps. The Beached Whale is another I chose that is from Ellen Read and is a children's story for the age group of 3 – 7 years. Thank you for taking the time to listen, until next time, Bye.
  1. Den of Dragons – Volume 11 of Crimson Cloak Anthologies
  2. Episode 10 – The Forest – A Tale Of Old Magic – by Julia Blake
  3. Episode 9 – The Heart Casts No Shadow by Susan Holt
  4. Episode 8 – Catching The Last Tram
  5. Episode 7 – Book Review – A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

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Book Review

The Wicked Wolves of Windsor by Byrd Nash

Synopsis/Blurb
Explore fairytales with a twist in these magical stories featuring strong women.

Meet a talking horse that tells only lies and a magical raven who speaks in riddles. Find powerful witches, cursed wolves, and fae changelings in medieval castles, modern skyscrapers, and Regency ballrooms in this short story collection.


My Thoughts
I was quite intrigued by the short story titles in this book. Eight short stories in all. Milking Time. The Wicked Wolves of Windsor. The Queens favourite. The Prince learns a lesson. A Society Òf Heartless Women and Granny Starseed.

Although these were short stories, some were a lengthy size. Now these retellings of fairy tales are not suitable for children/YA but are written more for an adult audience. Some I didn’t really get and I asked myself, what was that all about and others I thought, yes, the meaning and morals stand true. I really liked, The Prince Learns A Lesson, but probably the most I felt drawn to was Granny Starseed, her eccentric nature, her ability to be just herself, and so she should be, given that she’s a Granny, if she hasn’t learnt to be herself at her ripe old age, then there is no hope for her at all.

Quotes I enjoyed
“I’ve got some pretty good chocolate chip cookies at my place,” his grandmother said.”

Why did I chose this one?

Yes, I know, I was particularly very hungry when reading at this particular time, so I guess it took my fancy, but not only that, but these chocolate chip cookies, bickies, as we call them in New Zealand were very special, in the story they could do stuff that I’ve never seen bickies do before 😍 … but watch your teeth, they can become hard as rocks!

And another I enjoyed


“Mara, the raven, hopped onto the back head rest and investigated each of the packages until Bab pulled out a package of sunflower seeds to stop his nosy behavior.”

Why did I chose this one?


Well come on, what’s not to like about sunflowers and birds 😍🌻🦅 (so sorry, no raven emoji, an eagle will have to do).

Star Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars

Recommendation
If you want a retelling of favourite fairytales this one is for you, it has horses, witches, roses, medieval castles, wolves, and even an eccentric lady that’s very wise and has some very interesting things to say. If short stories are for you, this would be a good one to read, although some of these stories are longer than your average lunch time break and lastly if you like morals to your stories these are good ones.

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Book Review

The Heart Casts No Shadow – Susan Holt

Genres – Fantasy/SciFi/Mystery/Romance/Dystopian/YA

What This Book Is About
Will Rhonwyn free her heart and her people, or become the pawn of the most dangerous man ever seen?

When her skill at a complex strategy game gives her a way into the palace, Rhonwyn becomes the eyes and ears of the Resistance.

She’s there to help bring down the evil King Risick – the man who seized control and forced her people into his mines. The man who killed Rhonwyn’s father before her eyes, breaking her heart and fracturing her sanity.

Everything changes when she meets a vibrant man who’s also trapped in the palace. Rhonwyn’s not so alone now and her soul begins to heal. But his dangerous secret forces Rhonwyn to choose between the freedom of her people and the love she’s finally found.

What I Thought Of This Book
First of all I would like to thank Susan Holt for gifting me her book in exchange for an honest review. Susan Holt is a New Zealand author, who lives in Porirua, Wellington, Wellington being New Zealand’s capital city. Susan Holts writing is very visual – like a movie.

The world building in The Heart Casts No Shadow, is phenomenal. Susan was inspired by a building she showed me on Facebook, here is the link

Shown was the audience hall, Mysore Palace, India. The colours of the inside of that palace are amazing, especially the lime coloured green, the rose round celings with the golden twirls were so magical, it certainly made my reading experience so much special. The Palace itself was just out of this world, with its domed topped red roofs, with a grass floor that made the Palace stand out more.

Now getting back to the actual book itself. I loved how this was set in a different time, for example the characters say, I’m 20 summers, instead of saying, I’m 20 years old. Their greetings were different too, instead of saying hello, or good morning, it seemed to be … “well met” and the reply being “Peace to you”.

Susan Holt is an expert at holding you in captivity, slowly enticing with bits and pieces, nudging here, a teaser there, all the while you are trying to figure out what was coming up next, no luck, Susan appears to twist these plots with very surprising results.

I enjoyed the character, Rhonwyn, who doesn’t know what a clock is and is kept up most of the night by something I can’t mention and I felt so sorry for the character, Kymra, who was having a real bad time, at the start she was fine, Rhonwyn and Kymra used to giggle like two hyenas and then just like that Kymra is as sad as a door mouse, you could tell her energy flagged, but why? We as readers are left wondering throughout the whole book.

Rating System
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars

Recommendation
This book is highly entertaining and comes highly recommended by me and will suit anyone interested in fantasy fiction, dystopian, science fiction (although not too heavily so) who likes alot of suspense, twists and turns, who likes romance and young adult genre and finally anyone who likes strong female characters.
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The Dragon Sleeps Interview (Paulines Interview with author Ellen Read )

THE DRAGON SLEEPS INTERVIEW

Pauline Reid’s Ten Question Interview with author Ellen Read

Pauline – Today I would like to welcome to my blog page, Ellen Read the author of The Dragon Sleeps

Ellen Read – Thank you so much for inviting me, Pauline.

Pauline – Ellen, where did you draw inspiration for writing The Dragon Sleeps?

Ellen Read – My inspiration came from a few different directions. Many years ago, I visited Werribee Mansion in Victoria, Australia and I absolutely fell in love with it. I thought that one day I would like to write a story with a house like that in it. So, this house inspired me to create Thornton Park, which is the home of the Thornton family.

Another source of inspiration came from a short story I’d written many years ago about an Indian antiques dealer who visited a manor house in England. He brought a tiger statue to sell to his client. Murders started happening and the daughter of the house suspected the tiger came to life and killed people. The antiques dealer was involved in a cult that demanded sacrifices. So, I thought I might take that basic idea. However, I have since written a book with tigers in it, and I didn’t want to repeat it. Instead, I chose a dragon. When I think of dragons in the real world, not fantasy, I think of Chinese dragons. This led me to think Ming Dynasty Dragon statues. I have always had a love of antiques.

Pauline – The Dragon Sleeps is aimed at readers who like cosy mysteries. Why did you want to write a book for this genre?

Ellen Read – To start with, I had no intention of writing a cosy mystery. Historical fiction and murder mystery, yes, but the cosy mystery tag really came after I finished the book and I was looking at categories the book could be placed in. I realised then that it fell into the cosy mystery category. Given that Agatha Christie has always been one of my favourite authors, it’s not surprising that I wrote in that genre.

Pauline – The characters in The Dragon Sleeps, are they based on people you know? If so, who? Or were they entirely from your imagination?

Ellen Read – All the characters are entirely from my imagination. There may be small details taken from one person, another detail taken from someone else. I’m sure most writers borrow habits or appearances from people they know. However, each character is entirely fictional.

Pauline – Have you a favourite character from, The Dragon Sleeps? If so, who? And why?

Ellen Read – I have to go with two favourite characters because I can’t really separate them. Those two are Alexandra and Edith. I love Alexandra because of her courageous spirit and her great love for her family. Edith, I love because of her dry wit and her kind and generous nature. I have had so much fun writing about them. I love their friendship and their love for each other.

Pauline – How long did it take you to write The Dragon Sleeps, starting from manuscript to being published?

Ellen Read – I wrote The Dragon Sleeps quite quickly. It took me two months to do the first draft. I did another two drafts. Then it went to my editor. Altogether, it took one year before I could say it was ready to be published. To start with, I self-published it. Then, I was offered a contract from Crimson Cloak Publishing in the US.

Pauline – I know, The Dragon Sleeps is a Historical Fiction, what are one of the factual places mentioned?

Ellen Read – Some of the story is set in Melbourne, Victoria. In 1927, when the story is set, Melbourne had been the capital city of Australia. Every state has its own capital city, but Melbourne had been the Federal Capital city. However, in May 1927, the Federal Capital moved to Canberra, a city purpose-built for that reason. At the time, Canberra was considered to be out in the bush, and although a beautiful city was built, a lot of people had their doubts on the location of it.

Another historical fact that may interest people is concerning the music of Stardust written by Hoagy Carmichael in 1927. It remains one of his most favourite songs. In The Dragon SleepsStardust becomes Alexandra and Benedict’s signature music. The theme continues when Benedict calls the stars of the Milky Way ‘Stardust’. They also frequently dance a Foxtrot to the
music. In my ballroom dancing days, my husband and I have danced many a Foxtrot to Stardust.  Originally, there weren’t any words to Hoagy Carmichael’s music. Mitchell Parish wrote the lyrics in May 1929.

Pauline – I know that The Dragon Sleeps is part of a series, but how many books are you hoping to write to be part of the series?

Ellen Read – I am writing the fourth book in the series now. The second book will be released this year. I do have an idea for a fifth book. Then, I think I will see. I have an idea for a spin-off series, that will involve mainly Alexandra and Edith in investigating in what will be purely cosy mysteries. Although the boys will be there, I think it will be fun to have the girls taking the lead.

Pauline – I have read all your books, Ellen, but perhaps you could tell readers here today what the titles are and what genre, where you can buy them from, oh and before I forget, have you any other projects coming up that you can tell us about?

Ellen Read – Besides The Dragon Sleeps, the second book is called The Inca’s Curse. My publisher has book three, and I am writing book four at present, as I’ve mentioned. They are all historical fiction/cosy mysteries.

I have written a short story, titled, Alexandra and Edith’s Escapades -The Diamond Ring. It is available on my website for free download.

Also free on my website is a short story titled, An Ordinary Man. It has a contemporary setting.

Another title that is free is Broken. Broken is women’s fiction, general fiction.

The Treasure is a novelette, which is longer than the short story but not quite as long as a novella. This is Young Adult Fantasy set in a medieval time period.

Love The Gift is a novella about grief and healing, loss and love. It can be purchased on Amazon and other online book stores.

Pauline – I know you are on Social Media, but perhaps you can mention to readers where they can find you?

Ellen Read –
Instagram   Here
Facebook   Here
Pinterest    Here
Twitter   Here
WordPress Blog  Here
ellenread.com   Here
Goodreads   Here

Pauline – And last question, I know you have a website, but perhaps you could mention to readers here today your website link? And just one more thing, what do you offer that’s unique to your website?

Ellen Read – My website is ellenread.com    Here

The three stories that I’ve mentioned above are available for easy download on my website.  Also, I have many of my photographs on my website. Most are of flowers, but I do have some architectural photos, too. Anyone who visits is very welcome to have a look through my photos.

Pauline – Thank you, Ellen for being on my blog today, I do hope future projects are a success for you. Take care and I wish you well and chat later sometime about forthcoming books.

Ellen Read – Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Pauline. It’s been a delight

Where to buy my book:
http://myBook.to/DragonSleeps    Here
Book Depository   Here
Barnes and Noble    Here
Waterstones     Here
Booktopia    Here

Book Review

Book Review by Pauline Reid ⭐ The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read

The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read
Book One of The Thornton Mysteries

Historical Fiction ( Australia – 1927 post or after WW1)
Cosy Mystery Murder/Romance
Crime/Thriller


Thank you to Ellen Read for giving me an ARC of The Dragon Sleeps in return for an honest review. This book has been re-published by Crimson Cloak Publishing

My View On What This Book Is About
We open The Dragon Sleeps, and here we are, an invitation to a weekend party at Thornton Park. The hot topic is a brass Dragon…… it sits inside a velvet-lined box. An antiques dealer, Mr Zhang sold it to, Thomas Thornton, (Alexandra’s father) the owner of Thornton Antiques.

Edith wasn’t all that impressed with the brass Dragon and told Alexandra so. However, Alexandra felt she had to defend her father and said to Edith it was rare, from the 1500s, Alexandra was also disappointed with it and confirmed as much to Benedict who is the manager of Thornton Antiques.

Alexandra confides in Benedict that she had her suspicions over one particular person who had been invited… the person was being very shifty.

In the drawing room, Alexandra and Edith were having a bit of a tete-a-tete. What about? ….well to do with Benedict Archer of course!! Who else? but at this time Alexandra questioned herself, had she been aware how fond she is of Benedict?

A wrought-iron spiral stair case leads up to the tower. It was here that Alexandra and Benedict discussed the prospects of telling her father that Alexandra had been learning the ropes of the trade (Alexandra wanted to be an Antiques dealer at her fathers shop) nearer the end of their conversation, they noticed the stars in the sky.

“Here, with the sea of darkness surrounding us, the Milky Way stretches like a diamond blanket across the sky.”

After reiminiscing over the starry night, they decided to dance a foxtrot, to the music of Stardust, after that, like the gentleman Benedict is, he escorted Alexandra back to her room.

The next day activities consisted of showing stained windows, which added alot of curiosity, tennis playing, and a very deep discussion about a sword and a hint of a walk in the zoo, which ending up being a full tour of the zoo.

It wasn’t until the next day Benedict discovered there had been an “accident” in the Orchard. Was it an accident, or was it murder? Who was accountable? Who was missing? Where did the missing sword go? What was in the muniment room, that had Alexandra so entranced about her grandfather’s notebooks?

My Thoughts On This Book
Well how can I put this without using my own cliche….. “I loved this book so much”. With writing up this review and leaving this till last, I slept on it till morning, and then some more….. this is a very special book for me that connected with me on a very personal level, a precious book that I will definately treasure for years to come.

The Dragon Sleeps, a cosy murder mystery, a historical fiction (set in Australia – 1920s after WW1), a romance, crime/ thriller to the flavour of Agatha Christie, but Hercule Poirot style.

Edith and Alexandra. I absolutely adored the banter that goes on between the two girls. Edith having such a dry sense of humour and slightly putting her foot in it which makes it even more facinating, and I love how Alexandra seems to put up with it and takes it in her stride. The camaraderie between the two, quite endearing and certainly makes reading about these two very entertaining.

Alexandra and Benedict. I loved the romance between these two. Some would say, it’s the old fashioned type of love, but I see it as an adoring love, a love that spreads with maturity over the years, not at all your hard, hot stuff, so it is in the nature to the story that Ellen uses this in a knowledgeable way.

Glossary. I loved how there is a glossary which is thoughtfully done, and is included at the end of the book, examples explaining of Australian language or towns, for example …. ANZAC biscuits, chutney, duffer.

Ellen Read’s dry wittiness in The Dragon Sleeps, seeps through and hints of this we get throughout, which adds flavour of what could have been a much darker book. Her breaks in the story, are well balanced. The construction of historical events are weaved so cleverly in the story that you don’t feel as if you are being bombarded with a history lesson. Her words made an impact where they should and softness where it should. I loved, also the soft quality of Ellen’s writing in parts of her story, I’m thinking of “her mothers essence”, the “romance part” of it for sure and even the sorrow behind the “funeral scene”, which seemed … bittersweet, magical and sensitive. Ellen’s plotting skills are amazing and I can’t think of a better word to use, “it’s a work of art, of words” is the closest I can put to it, again, this gives a different impact to the story, a gripping one, overall giving the book the exact right balance that is needed. I want to congratulate Ellen, her style and writing is astounding…. she leaves me speechless.

Rating System
I give The Dragon Sleeps, 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommendation
The Dragon Sleeps comes highly recommended by me, and would suit anyone who likes Agatha Christie books, who likes historical fiction, who likes cozy mystery murder books, who likes soft endearing, maturing romance and anyone who likes wity humour and who likes crimes and thrillers.

A personal thank you, goes to you, Ellen, for such an inspiring book, your book has been a pleasure to read and much appreciated (and will be close part of my life).

DEN OF DRAGONS ANTHOLOGY

ellenreadauthor

I’m so pleased to announce the DEN OF DRAGONS Anthology is OUT NOW!

By Various Authors and Published by Crimson Cloak Publishing.

I have two short stories in it.

The Dragon Awakes – following Alexandra and the Thorntons in another mystery.

AND

The Beached Whale is my debut children’s story. 

I have also read the other stories in the anthology and really enjoyed them. I’d certainly highly recommend this book. There is something for everyone. And, after all, who doesn’t love dragons. They can be frightening and others can be sweet.

My video is on YouTube if you’d like to take a look.

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Den Of Dragons – Volume 11 of Crimson Cloak Anthologies

Book Review by Pauline Reid 🐉 Den Of Dragons – Volume 11 of Crimson Cloak Anthologies

What This Book Is About
First of all I would like to sincerely thank Ellen Read for giving me an ARC of Den of Dragons in exchange for a honest review.

This is a collection of short stories, the theme, dragons and written by various authors from Crimson Cloak Publishing. Titles such as, Dragons are Extinct, Margaret the Fox Dragon, The Fiery Sneeze, but the two short stories I was drawn to the most is from Ellen Read, – The Dragon Wakes and The Beached Whale.
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Book Review by Pauline Reid 🐉 The Dragon Wakes by Ellen Read
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What This Short Story Is About
Beginning the story in 1927… we are back in the muniment room, where the dragon statue has come alive. Alexandra is seeing it develop into a living creature, at the same time, thinking, how can she protect all the antiques, with this creature bursting into a humungous thing. There, she did it, Alexandra contained the creature with locking the door. The dragon of course, managed to get out, it was taking over the whole place, it even managed to escape, flying to the ocean, the Great Southern Ocean, leaving the tower and the muniment room of Thornton Park in tatters. Was this a dream Alexandra had? She wondered herself. Alexandra thought best to check anyway. Her thoughts ran to Edie, you know, Alexandra blamed her for her imagination that ran away with her…. yes, it was best to check anyway…. so Alexandra unlocked the door … and what did she find? Well after her revelation, Alexandra decided now that she was awake, to go to Ediths bedroom and wake her up, although Edith wasn’t all that pleased about being woken up and being dragged along to see. Yes, Alexandra was back in business again, cracking the codes of what may lay ahead. Dreams? or Pearls of wisdom? Which one was it that Alexandra discovered…. something else too was discovered, something that sailed the ocean, now what could that be?
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What I Thought
The Dragon Wakes is a short story that follows on from the novel The Dragon Sleeps, it can be read as a stand-alone story. I’m dumbstruck again! I can’t believe how Ellen comes up with these imaginative ideas! Ellen needs to be recognised in a way as a superior well known author should be recognised, either with a title “best selling author” or maybe a knighthood and be called a Dame, because this short story is not just exceptional, but extra-ordinary. Ellen’s writing is in tone with the book, written in her usual style of Alexandra playing detective and with Edith her adopted and best friend chiming in every now and again and the title tattle of snatched chats, not always smothered with wittiness, as we do have a sense of realism of Edith’s mood in this short story this time, which we didn’t see much of, in The Dragon Sleeps and The Diamond Ring. Everything as always, is well balanced, the short story, short enough and my interest and being intrigued and fascinated, didn’t wane a bit, Ellen’s punch lines, perfect. Ellen’s wittiness in the story, perfect. The placing of factual information within the story, perfect. Perfection at it’s best.

Here are some quotes I enjoyed
A flood of moonlight washed over her. In her mind’s eye, she could see the dragon soaring into the sky, its leg extended as it carried its golden pearl high.
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Alexandra’s thought swirled like butterflies in her head.
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The grandfather clock in the main hall ticked the seconds away.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Star Rating

Recommendation

I highly recommend you read this little masterpiece and would suit anyone who is an Agatha Christie fan, anyone who is into Chinese mythology, anyone who likes cosy mysteries, anyone who likes a bit of fantasy in a book, who likes historical fiction and anyone who likes, short stories and anyone who likes a bit of wittiness in their books.

Book Review by Pauline Read 🦋🦋🐯🐯 The Beached Whale by Ellen Read
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What This Short Story Is About
Wilhelmina, landed herself on her favourite beach, a beach that has coconuts. Wilhelmina is special because she could talk. Wilhelmina called out to her imaginary friend, Daisy the dragon to drag her away from the beach she admired, because some people were comming to help her, but you see, she wasn’t really stuck, she just admired the coconuts and was thinking of whether coconut milk tasted yummy. Now back safe and sound on a small Island in the Pacific Ocean with Daisy who could now materialise. Daisy now questioned Wilhelmina why she needed to go to the other beach considering theirs had sand and trees. Wilhelmina explained she likes the coconuts. However, Daisy was quite cross with Wilhelmina and a disagreement was taking place about something when Tilly the Tiger sauntered out of her slumber asking what was going on. Peace was restored when Betty the butterfly appeared. So what did Betty do to save the day? Who-who is this mysterious brown owl that’s just appeared and wh-where is she going? And then of course just out of the blue , something magical happened, a random visit from their friend Ursa, the unicorn who could only appear at the full of the moon. What did she have to say?
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What I thought
Initially when I read this story end of November 2017, I remembered that, I wept … I wept for joy. I wept because it was such a touching story. I wept because this meant so much to me, I wept because it was close to my heart and I wept at the appreciation of being able to see this story before it ever went to print. Although Ellen at the time was known more of a cosy mystery writer, I knew she had it in her, something else, and that I could encourage Ellen to shine that bit more and become a childrens writer as well. Yes, I was part of this inspiration, I’ve still got the email saying so …. so all I can say is, “that this is a beautiful piece of writing about a whale, butterfly, tiger, an owl and a unicorn that come together as friends and go away as friends, no matter what type of animal they are, they just seemed to get along just fine.” In another words …. life is too short to argue and we should listen to people when they speak and not be too busy. A happy ending as always in Ellen Reads work. This was certainly for me a therapeutic read after a hard slog huge book. It was a comfort, it was a hug.

Here are some quotes I enjoyed

Ah, here was Daisy already. She could feel the wind from her wings on her body.
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They all shook their heads and felt a little guilty for not staying and listening.
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A full moon shone high in the sky. Its silvery beams painted the water in luminescent beauty.
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Ursa walked away from the others and looked up at the moon. After only seconds, a shaft of moonlight shone down on to her. Crystals of magic danced in the moonbeams. She raised her head and felt the power of the moon give her strength. The horn on her head glittered in the silvery light.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Rating – 5 stars

Recommendation
To children approx aged 3 – 7 years of age, to anyone who loves animals in a childrens setting, who loves unicorns, tigers, butterflies, owls, whales and dragons. This would be a good one to read to your child, does anyone still do that these days? I hope so, because I’m going to read this one to my daughter.

Here is the podcast if you want to listen to it too

Den of Dragons – Volume 11 of Crimson Cloak Anthologies Book Recommendations

A Scripted Reading of two short stories that I personally picked. The Dragon Wakes by Ellen Read, which is a short story that follows on from The Dragon Sleeps. The Beached Whale is another I chose that is from Ellen Read and is a children's story for the age group of 3 – 7 years. Thank you for taking the time to listen, until next time, Bye.
  1. Den of Dragons – Volume 11 of Crimson Cloak Anthologies
  2. Episode 10 – The Forest – A Tale Of Old Magic – by Julia Blake
  3. Episode 9 – The Heart Casts No Shadow by Susan Holt
  4. Episode 8 – Catching The Last Tram
  5. Episode 7 – Book Review – A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

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