Satire with extra bite – review by Lisa Timpf of Ira Nayman’s Bad Actors on The Miramichi Reader

Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer
Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer

On the Miramichi Reader website, Lisa Timpf has just reviewed Bad Actors, the second book in Ira Nayman’s trilogy about the Multiverse Refugees.

She introduces the book as “In Bad Actors: Second Pi in the Face, veteran Canadian author Ira Nayman serves up offbeat hilarity with a side order of satire.” She adds that “One of the distinguishing features of Nayman’s writing is an irrepressible wit.” After briefly outlining the plot of the first book of the trilogy, Good Intentions, and introducing the plot of Bad Actors, Lisa writes “As anyone familiar with Nayman’s work might expect, Bad Actors is steeped in humour in a variety of forms, including ridiculous situations, slapstick, tangential digressions, and word play. It’s helpful to take one’s time reading Nayman’s writing so as not to miss any of his funny references, which range from in-your-face obvious to subtle-enough-to-miss-if-you’re-not-careful.”

She goes on to talk about the serious side of the story (indeed the whole trilogy), using humour to address the issue of racism and discrimination, and says that “Nayman’s passion for this issue comes through clearly in Bad Actors, adding extra bite to the satire.”

You can read the whole of Lisa’a review on the Miramichi Reader here. Thanks Lisa, glad you enjoyed the book.

“This book moved me to tears” – Allen Stroud writes about The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner on

The Janus Cycle cover image
Artwork: Alison Buck

Allen Stroud, author, academic and current chair of the BSFA, compiled a list of ‘The best contemporary fantasy and science fiction books with new takes and fresh characters’ for the website. First on his list is The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner. Allen writes: “This book moved me. … the finale with an assemble moment of courage between many of the characters is such an empowering and cathartic moment… I was listening in the car and found myself in tears”

It is, of course, great news for an author that they have had such a profound effect on their readers. We’re a little concerned, though, if it moved Allen to tears while he was driving! When Tej saw Allen’s list, and his comments on The Janus Cycle, he said that to hear his book moved people is “very validating”. He went on to say: “I am very proud of [The Janus Cycle]. It put me on the map as an author and was a landmark for me on a personal level.”

You can find more about The Janus Cycle here; more about Tej here; more about Allen here; and read Allen’s booklist on here.

“the reality that Grimwood has built and constructed on the page is beautiful and brilliant” – Review of Interference on The Fantasy Hive

Cover design and artwork: Alex Storer
Cover design and artwork: Alex Storer

Over on The Fantasy Hive website, Lucy Nield has written a detailed and very thoughtful review of Interference by Terry Grimwood. Trying to present extracts from Lucy’s review wouldn’t do it justice, so I recommend you read it in its entirety on The Fantasy Hive here.

“Definitely one to look out for!” – Review of The Eye Collectors on The British Fantasy Society website

Cover design: Alison Buck
Cover design: Alison Buck

On the website of the British Fantasy Society, a review has recently been posted of The Eye Collectors by Simon Kewin. The reviewer, Matthew Johns, says, “I really enjoyed the story and the fact that it’s not all black and white – it felt a bit more realistic than some stories that have very clearly defined good and bad characters.”

He goes on to say “I’ll be keeping an eye out for future books in the Office of the Witchfinder General series – if you enjoyed Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series or the Dresden Files, then you’ll enjoy this one. Definitely one to look out for!” Well, you’re in luck Matthew because the second book in the series, The Seven Succubi, is out in eBook on the 25th February and in paperback on the 28th March.

You can read Matthew’s full review of The Eye Collectors on the BFS website here.


“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

Cover: PR Pope
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

Cover: PR Pope
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

Cover design by PR Pope

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).