“little short of a masterpiece” – review of HOWUL and interview with David Shannon in Reader’s Digest

Cover design: Alison Buck

In the Reader’s Digest online Culture section, HOWUL by David Shannon is featured as the Must-read of the week.

The review by Timothy Arden describes HOWUL as “unconventional, quirky, extraordinary … unmissable” and “little short of a masterpiece”. Following the review is a fascinating interview with David Shannon. You can read the review and the interview here on the Reader’s Digest site.

 

“It reminded me of a Doctor Who plot” – Reviewer names Million Eyes one of her top reads of 2020

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Calling it “tense, ominous and addictive”, book blogger Karen at Hair Past A Freckle posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, in January last year. On New Year’s Day 2021, she named it one of her top reads of 2020.

Karen begins by explaining how Million Eyes begins in 1100 with King William II and something that very obviously shouldn’t exist in the 12th century. Like many readers, she knew of this event having seen the Rufus Stone in the New Forest where William was supposedly accidentally shot, and which Million Eyes says may not have been quite as straightforward as history tells it.

It’s difficult to review this book without giving away spoilers but I can say that there are some completely unexpected moments which totally shocked me.

She goes on to describe the two main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson, saying that they are “very different people” and that she “particularly enjoyed seeing how Jennifer’s understandable scepticism gradually diminishes as she realises that he is telling the truth”. She calls the characterisation “excellent throughout” and that Jennifer in particular is a “fabulous character”.

She rounds off her review by saying that “as a long-time Whovian, perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay to Million Eyes is that it reminded me of a Doctor Who plot”.

You can read the full review on Hair Past A Freckle here.

 

“A disorienting but enthralling experience” – Review of Million Eyes by Parallel Worlds

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Parallel Worlds have posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, in Issue 9 of their monthly magazine.

Reviewer Ben Potts compares Million Eyes to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and George Orwell’s 1984. He notes that the manipulation of timelines and ensuing time travel paradoxes are just a backdrop for the novel’s main draw: the conspiracy thriller elements, which are front and centre.

As pivotal moments in history shift, the world starts to become more and more… off, offering a disorienting but enthralling experience. We won’t spoil some of the more delectable twists here, but it gets interesting.

Potts also notes the “believable and genuine conflict” between the two main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson, and that the book does a good job of making the reader feel like they’re stepping backwards in time. He adds that Berry’s writing is “clear and easy to understand” and caps off his review by calling it an “excellent read”.

Potts also makes reference to Berry’s interview with Time Travel Nexus, in which he talks about the creation of the book, the short stories that accompany it (which we published as a free ebook called Million Eyes: Extra Time), his love of sci-fi and conspiracy theories, and how he went about creating his ‘rules of time travel’ for the Million Eyes series.

You can read the full review here. You can also listen to a podcast version of Issue 9 of the magazine.

“ancient magicks and daemons play out against the heat of a desert” – Review of Thorns of a Black Rose on BFS website

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On the British Fantasy Society website, Elloise Hopkins has reviewed Thorns of a Black Rose by David Craig. After an outline of the plot, Elloise introduces the two main characters, Tamira and Shukara, characters that are “easily likeable to the reader”. She adds that David Craig presents “well-rounded, believable heroines alongside worldbuilding richly woven with influences from North Africa and ancient history”. She compliments the pace of the story and says that at the end there is a satisfying completion while “tantalisingly” leaving scope for further adventures – which she says would be very welcome. In conclusion she says that Thorns of a Black Rose is a “modern young adult story with its roots very firmly in traditional fantasy”.

You can read the full review on the BFS website here.

 

“a highly enjoyable tale” – review by Jill-Elizabeth of Working Weekend

Cover by Alison and Sofia Buck

On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has reviewed Working Weekend by Penelope Hill, which she describes as “an original spin on common supernatural themes, offered with a generous dose of humor and a peek behind the curtain at authors, writing, fandom, and the magic that is themed conventions”. She adds that it’s “snarky and funny and just the right amount of dark”. She says that it built a “nice tension” that kept her turning pages, and the characters were a good blend of personalities that “intermingled tropes and originality in a way I thought perfect”. She says that the ending left her cautiously optimistic that we might get to join Marcus in further adventures (take note Penelope!).

You can read the full review on Jill-Elizabeth’s blog here (it’s on Goodreads too).

 

“teasing out the truth is what makes these stories so incredible” – Review of Lord of the Hunt by Jill-Elizabeth

Cover design and artwork by Alison Buck

On her blog Jill-Eliabeth has reviewed Lord of the Hunt by David Craig, the second book in the Sooty Feathers series. As she loved the first book, Resurrection Men (read about her review of that here), it is perhaps unsurprising that she also enjoyed this latest book. In her review she apologises for not having too much specific to say about the story as she doesn’t want to undermine the plot twists or introduce any spoilers.

She says that David Craig is a dab hand at “setting up expectations, only to knock them down like nine-pins” but without “ever generating an eye roll or sense of irritation”. She likes the fact that he doesn’t throw in red herrings to drive tension up artificially, his “misdirections and layered revelations are much more delicate and well-crafted than that and each one feels like an organic and utterly necessary part of the whole.”

Her conclusion is that Lord of the Hunt is entirely enjoyable and definitely worth reading (and if you haven’t already read Resurrection Men, which she describes as also excellent, she says “I definitely recommend reading these in order”). You can read the full review on her blog here (it’s also on Goodreads).

 

“incredible yet all too believable” – review by Jill-Elizabeth of Million Eyes

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On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has reviewed Million Eyes by C.R. Berry, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy. She previously read and reviewed the free-to-download collection of short stories set in the Million Eyes universe, Million Eyes: Extra Time (read about her review here). She starts her review of Million Eyes by saying that it was “a delight to read and offered a marvelous set-up to events to come”. She describes it as “a wild ride that whip-cracks back and forth through time”, with “time travel, history, alt-history, conspiracy theory, corporate greed, and a host of characters that range from the hapless to the harried to the horrible”. She admits that she is a fan of time-travel as a concept and the possibilities it allows for talented story-tellers like C.R. Berry.

She mentions that though there are many characters introduced in the various timelines, the two that she felt a real connection with were “Princess Diana, who jumped off the page for me, which is strange since I have never before felt so drawn to her” and the “horrifically corporate-evil queen Erica Morgan who felt like a perfect amalgamation of every corporate CEO I’ve ever known combined with every Disney villain-queen I’ve ever encountered”.

She says that her biggest concern is how long she will have to wait for the following two books in the series to find out what happens next!

You can read Jill-Elizabeth’s review on her blog here (it’s also on Goodreads).

 

“Tragic royal events weren’t actually meant to happen” – Review and Extract of Million Eyes by Short Book and Scribes

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Book blogger Nicola at Short Book & Scribes has posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, calling it “a mind-boggling tale combining fact and fiction”.

She says the concept “that tragic royal events weren’t actually meant to happen” but happened because of time travel “flummoxed” her but that she “absolutely love[s] this kind of story” where you have to “put pieces together to make a whole.” She calls Million Eyes “incredibly well-plotted” with enjoyable characterisations and says she is pleased to know that it’s the first in a trilogy.

As a royalist and someone who enjoys historical fiction, I found the idea absolutely fascinating that Princess Diana’s crash might have been orchestrated for some reason other than the many conspiracy theories we already know about

Short Book & Scribes have also published a free preview from Chapter 1 of the novel.

You can read the full review and extract here.

 

“A deliciously dark vein of humour” – Review of Million Eyes by Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow

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Calling it a “cracking five-star romp of a read”, Sue at Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow has posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy.

She says she “enjoyed every time-warped minute of it” and that “your head will spin at times as you try to follow some of the time loops in play”.

Several of the scenes actually had me chuckling – even the very bloody ones – as there is a deliciously dark vein of humour that runs through the whole shebang.

Noting that Million Eyes gets readers thinking about “corporate greed”, she explains how Berry pokes fun at some well-known entities. She says, “Think a certain search engine provider and a fruit-themed electronics manufacturer”. She also really liked the “little nod towards the weirdness of current American politics at the end”.

You can read Sue’s full review here.

 

“Frightening tale of just how difficult it is to hide in Britain today” – Review of Million Eyes by Northern Reader

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Historical fiction book blogger Joules Barham has posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, on their site Northern Reader.

Barham calls Million Eyes “genuinely exciting”, combining “historical mysteries which have engaged academics, conspiracy theorists and many others” with “all the elements of a thriller”. She points out that it comments on modern surveillance and that there are “moving” and “quite brutal” moments along with nods to Doctor Who.

The research into setting and theories of the events is undoubtedly impressive, and goes a long way to establish the fantasy explanation.

Barham also hints that the book covers more historical events than its back cover blurb reveals, asking readers to “keep an eye on the date of each section”.

Barham rounds out her review by saying that Million Eyes is a “skillful and carefully constructed novel with much to offer historical fiction fans”.

You can read the full review on Northern Reader here.