The future of Celticfrog Reviews

Over the past twelve months I’ve got slower and slower at doing the things I love to do (and everything else, but that doesn’t hurt as much). Unfortunately, that includes reading and reviewing books. Where at one time I could turn around two books a week, now I’m lucky to read two books a month. I’ve already put a hold on accepting new books for review. With much regret and no small ache in my heart I’m making that hold permanent. I will try to finish the reviews on the twenty or so books on my list, but as of this time I will be accepting no more books for review. A search for indie book reviewers will show you lists of still active reviewers.

I don’t make this decision lightly. I’ve been reviewing books for more than three decades, starting with e-zines and moving to a great website before starting my own blog. I expect I’ve read close to a thousand books for review, starting back when indie books were just gaining traction and getting separate from vanity press. I’ve met some great people writing reviews and read some fantastic stories. Your books and stories will be missed.

I will be leaving this page up, both to upload reviews as I get them done, and as an archive. If you have a great review of a special book, send it to me and I may post it. If my health changes and my brain returns from its cosmic voyage, I may reopen my queue and start taking books again. But for now. That’s all he wrote, folks

Alex McGilvery aka celticfrog.

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Deja Vu

Deja Vu

Ian Hocking

This is a fascinating book which tackles the paradox of time travel. Saskia Brandt wakes  and soon finds herself involved in a locked room mystery where the only logical suspect is Saskia herself. She is then sent off on a case of perhaps sabotage and murder.
David Proctor is asked to investigate the scene of an old crime and is soon caught up fleeing the police as he tries to determine what is cause and what effect.

 

The characters in this book are well drawn, and we get to see them pushed to the limit, not only of their capacity, but their very identity. The plot guides us through twists and turns of causality while never lecturing us on the various theories. It is a wild ride and well worth the read.

 

If you like well written sci-fi which will make you think, this book is highly recommended.

 

You can purchase the book through Amazon.

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Not taking new books for Review until May

Tall_Stack_Of_Books

It is great to be popular. I enjoy reading a reviewing you books, but I also need to give time to my editing clients, and selfishly, I keep a tiny bit of time for my own writing. So I’ve gotten a bit behind. I have about forty book in my queue to be read and reviewed. I usually like to have maybe ten or twenty books so it is months or even weeks for the review to appear.

I’m going to work on getting my queue under control, but until I do that I won’t be accepting new books. It isn’t that they aren’t great books which deserve to be read. It’s just life. Editing pays, reviews don’t. I don’t want to sell ads because I want this site to be about your books. So check in, read the reviews as they get posted and I’ll let you know when I’m adding books to my queue again.

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Amazon and Reviews.

I have discovered that the vast majority of my reviews at Amazon have been taken down. Probably because I didn’t purchase the book through them, or their algorithm has decided there is too close a connection between author and reviewer. As a reviewer I am very upset, but I doubt Amazon is going to change the rules for me. As of now, I will no long post reviews on Amazon. You are still welcome to post all or part of my review as an ‘editorial review’ on your book.

I know that reviews on Amazon are important to you as an indie or small press author, but I have no intention of wasting my time posting something which never gets to the public eye.

Alex

 

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Little Golden Tree

Little Golden Tree

Deineke Henderson

This is a beautiful little book about a tree who loses it’s golden leaves to the wind. What will happen to it? The story line is easy for young listeners and readers to follow and it carries a message of hope, with a bit of humour too. The illustrations are the perfect balance to the story of the tree.

It is available on Amazon here.

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Timesnatched: Polestar

Timesnatched: Polestar

Barbara Boyle

Jack and Annie are just regular teenagers, Jack in the US and Annie in Britain. But a mysterious man in a blue coat snatches them to a future where a benevolent dictatorship claims to have cured all the ills of the world. The only price is freedom.

Jack and Annie are rescued by resistance fighters and learn that their future selves are essential to the resistance. General Graff, who had them kidnapped is snatching the younger versions of any who threaten the Federation.

The first task the young people have is to rescue their older selves from a bomb. We get to watch the characters grow and stretch in their new roles, and struggle with what it means if they don’t get back to their time to become who they are supposed to be.

There is everything you could want in an adventure story. The teens struggle to fill the shoes of their older selves and deal with a situation in a world changed drastically from what they knew. This is an enjoyable romp, and I will look forward to the next in the series.

You can buy the book here.

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Rath’s Deception

Rath’s Deception

Piers Platt

Rath is a smart kid with a gift. He has a perfect memory. He and his brother have a plan to use that gift to get out of the slum levels of their world. When his brother is taken by a gang, Rath is left on his own. He is caught stealing a police officer’s gun, but instead of being arrested, he is recruited by a shadowy organization of assassins.

He is trained and sent out to kill. Fifty kills and he get fifty percent of what he makes for the guild. The problem is he doesn’t like killing, but he keeps going because it is the only way for him to get out.

This is a wild ride of a read. There is Rath, but also a cop who has a bee in his bonnet about the mysterious group. He even managed to capture an assassin, but in the escape and aftermath is made a pariah.

The worlds are well planned and Rath is a complex character. We feel sympathy for him even as he does terrible things because we see the price he pays for his actions.

I highly recommend this book to science fiction readers.

You can buy the book here.

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Daygo’s Fury

Daygo’s Fury

John O’Sullivan

The blurb for Daygo’s Fury promises the beginning of an epic story, and certainly there is an epic story there. There at two stories, one set in a city in the poorest section, the other in a jungle setting.

I particularly like the chapters set in the city, though gritty doesn’t necessitate swearing. The words feel dropped into the story without need. Aside from that the characters are interesting and their struggle to survive creates an immediate empathy.

The jungle parts are more detached as the lead character there is disconnected from the people around him. It is difficult to care for a character who doesn’t care for others.

On top of this the stories have no connection well into the book. Each story could be a book in its own right. Trying to stuff both of them into one may be a little too epic. I found myself skimming through the jungle scenes to get back to the city storyline.

Even so, if you like epic writing and you’re willing to wait to see how the separate thread are joined, this book is for you.

You can buy the book here.

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Craftsman/Willbinder

Craftsman/WIllbinder

Seph Rondin and Thomas Stout

Brothers Bryon and Adam find some ancient relics while on a camping trip. The artifacts pull them to an alternate world where the old tribes of Ireland still live in a land of magic and war.

Bryon is a soldier, while Adam is a business man. The magic no only drops them in different places in their new world and at different times. Adam is there first with a helmet which allows him to understand and plan for the possibilities of his new world.

Bryon finds himself in a hidden valley where he befriends a goddess and soon becomes a military leader in his new home.

The duology of Craftsman and Willbinder is well thought out and planned. The characters are stretched to the limits of their abilities. At times I would like to have seen some scenes more developed.   Yet even so this is a fun read and I recommend it to fantasy lovers. The authors have books three and four out to continue the saga.

You can buy the book here.

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The Body in the Alpaca Pasture

The Body in the Alpaca Pasture

Jerold Last

Roger and Suzanne travel to the mountains of Argentina, for a real vacation this time; no murder cases, just fun as tourists. Their plans don’t last long as, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a case which the local police just can’t solve on their own.

The characters of Roger and Suzanne are well enough developed, in an odd way perhaps too much so. We get to watch them eat a pleasant dinner and make plans about their trip, so much so that we’re well into the book before we get a hint of the case.

The book is pleasant reading, but I would prefer a little more story and a little less of the minutiae of their lives.

You can buy the book here.

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