These are fiction books I have read, loved and recommend

In alphabetical order

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Beyond - Georgia Springate


Alex Duncan is just an ordinary 14 year old boy. His main worries are homework, girls, the school bully...
...and his sister Jenna, who has ovarian cancer, stage B.

As his parents retreat into themselves, Alex is desperate to help. While he tries to find a way to make things better for his sister, life still goes on and everything he does just makes him feel more and more awkward and out of place.

His search for meaning, or at least some comfort in all the chaos, takes him on a journey of friendship, love, and discovery.

What Alex learns helps him to come to terms with not only his sister's mortality, but also how he and his family and friends can cope with the one big question: what lies Beyond?

Georgia Springate’s debut novel, Beyond, is a funny and touchingly compelling coming-of-age story about love, loss and discovery. Read it and take an emotional journey through one boy’s quest to understand that most tricky of questions: what lies beyond?

My Review

This is not my usual genre. I am not a young adult by any means. However the description spoke to me and I am very glad it did.

Georgia Springate has captured the emotions of 14 year old Alex as he struggles to come to terms with his sister's cancer. Being of similar age to Alex when my nana died of cancer I could identify with him. Some of the family reactions were similar to my own families.

All of the characters are so well described I could imagine them as if they were in front of me. I wish I could have read it in one go but I got to savour it in small doses.

An excellent debut from an excellent writer - there will be more to come and I will be at the front of the queue to read them. Take note of this name - you won't regret it.


Daylight Chasers - Rue Sparks

"I wish this day would never end" - One heart's desire leads to a tumultuous journey for an unlikely pair.

Keenan, a guide at Daylight Chasers, is hired to lead Isabella through a day that "nearly" never ends. As the top agent, he excels at calming the excitable and inspiring the timid, as they journey across the globe one time zone at a time. Despite his years of experience, Keenan soon realizes that he is going to need a lot more than his familiar script when it comes to Isabella's expedition.

When the planned activities all start going south, Keenan finds himself struggling to respond to Isabella's mercurial moods. With each adventure sending them further from the planned path, Keenan begins to wonder how can he be the guide when even he is feeling lost?

This short story is a modern fable on mortality, bravery, and acceptance.

My Review

Some books leave you with a lot of words to write. Some books leave you unsure how to do them justice. Read this in one sitting. I wanted more but to be honest it doesn't need it. I don't want to spoil this. I read it without reading the blurb because of the enthusiastic response of people who read it. Sometimes it's better to not know and just go with the flow. It's 46 pages, it's less than an hour. Something tells me it will stick around in my head for much longer than that. Take a chance, you won't regret it.


The Wild Army (Guardians of the Forest Book 1) - Cheryl Burman

Good and evil lurks around each twist and turn, and the characters live and breathe on every page.’

Madach empire-builder Lord Rafe wants the trees - all of them. And he wants the Danae too - all of them.

Callie’s forest rings to the thwack of enemy axes. Her people are trapped. Their leaders scoff at her warnings of the Danae’s fate at the hands of the invaders - their Forest razed and themselves sold as fairytale slaves. When Callie searches for help in the secret places of the forest, she discovers her own magic. Will it be enough? The gryphon who watched over the forest is dying, her successor a mere baby. The wild creatures will fight. But Callie also needs Tristan, the son of the destroyer. Will Tristan betray his father? Can Callie and the creatures stop the desolation?

For 9 yrs old and over, and lovers of fantasy adventure, forests and mythical beasts of any age.

My Review


The characters are relatable and well drawn in their well imagined world. The twists and turns of the story keep you reading, wondering who to trust, what might happen next and what it all means for the Danae. This book trilogy comes under children's books but as a grown up I am thoroughly enjoying getting caught up in Cheryl Burman's fantasy story. I suspect may adults will love these books too. I have to read all of them.


Quests (Guardians of the Forest Book 2) - Cheryl Burman

Finished this one within 24 hours ... very engaging.'

Gwen and Mark battle bears, slave trader robbers, torrential rivers and the trees themselves in their quest for the mythical Sleih.

The invading Madach have discovered the Danae villages and Gwen and Mark flee into the perilous Deep Forest. They must find the Sleih, who may or may not be a myth, and who may or may not help as, so village lore proclaims, they helped the Danae once before - for a price. And where is their lost sister, Lucy? Has she fallen foul of the robber Madach who capture Gwen and Mark?

While the brother and sister battle the dangers of the Deep Forest, an ambitious and powerful Seer hunts for them, desperate to thwart their quest. Can Mark and Gwen reach the Sleih before the Seer finds them and destroys all hope of rescue for the imprisoned Danae?


For 9 yrs old and over, and lovers of fantasy adventure, forests and mythical beasts of any age.

My Review

Gwen and Mark bravely face known and unknown threats on a mission to find their sister Lucy and plead for help for all in their village. They learn a lot along the way and meet people who sometimes help and sometimes hinder their progress. They keep going and so must the reader. Cheryl Burman's series is set in a fantasy world every age can relate to. I love the element of surprise that she conjures up. Glad I could purchase and read all of these without waiting. As soon as I finished one I started the next


Gryphon Magic (Guardians of the Forest Book 3) - Cheryl Burman


I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see what happened.’

Will Gwen, Mark and Lucy be in time to save the Danae from their fate as fairytale slaves?

Callie, the wild creatures, and the young gryphon harass the Madach tree-fellers with secret help from Tristan. But the invaders’ ships steadily fill with timber and now there is only room left in the holds for the even richer cargo of Danae fairytale slaves.

Lady Melda plots to steal Gwen’s gryphon pendant, for once she has that, all her ambitions for power will be fulfilled.

Gwen, Mark and Lucy hurry home with the Sleih rescuers, facing old enemies and gathering new allies. But when they reach the Forest, they find ruin and desolation.

Can Lady Melda be stopped? Can the Danae be saved? Can the Forest be redeemed from the invaders’ destruction?

For 9 yrs old and over, and lovers of fantasy adventure, forests and mythical beasts of any age.

My Review

The final book in this trilogy continues the twisting turning journey. This story has been an entertaining one that I didn't want to put down. Each angle has been carefully thought out. Each character so well drawn I could see them. The world that Cheryl Burman created came to life as if she drew it for me. Loved it.


Haven Wakes - Fi Phillips

What if you discovered there was another, magical world alongside ours but just out of reach ?

What would you do if a being there wanted you dead, but you didn’t know why?

And how would you save their world - and ours - if all was threatened by evil?

When Steve Haven’s uncle dies, Steve finds himself the guardian of a strange artefact known only as the Reactor. But there are people out there who want the Reactor: dangerous and powerful people, who will stop at nothing to get it.

Steve is sucked into a race against time to save two worlds from an evil he could never have imagined and, in doing so, is forced to rely on people who, just a few days before, he would never have believed could exist.

Haven Wakes is an exciting and enthralling journey through new worlds, both futuristic and magical.

If you enjoy fantastic settings, magical powers and futuristic devices, then you’ll love Haven Wakes.

My Review

Steve is an unlikely hero who goes on his own journey taking the reader with him. Each character you meet, you are wondering if they can be trusted, each part of the story leaves you wondering what will happen next and wanting to know NOW. I couldn't put this down and I am little older than the YA readership it is aimed at. Very pleased there will be more as I still have questions. Fi Phillips has a wonderful imagination and really knows how to engage the reader. This is a real page turner. In short I loved it and I really want to know what happens next. Not sure how many books there are in the series but I know I am buying them all.


Keepers - Cheryl Burman

At eight months pregnant, Raine shouldn’t be on a jolting bus crawling through melting snow on a mountain track searching for her husband. He might not want to be found. She might not want to find him.

Raine didn't plan to marry Teddy. His moods turn on a hairpin, he's hot headed and easily offended. But he's the father of her unborn child, and in 1950s Australia being an unwed mother isn't an option. Raine believes it just might work, that the troubles and tragedies of the past two years are behind her.

Then Teddy abandons her, shouting his wounding, infuriating accusations. Raine’s grief threatens to turn bitter - are there words which can’t be forgiven?

Teddy’s childhood mate, Alf, wavers between indignation and hope. He’s always wanted to keep Raine in a tower, fight off dragons to keep her safe forever. Is this his chance? Or do old loyalties run too deep?

A hurting Raine determines to track Teddy down. When she finds him – if she finds him – she’ll understand at last who her true ‘keeper’ is.

My Review

I love Cheryl Burman's writing. She brings characters to life and makes you care about them. I don't do historical fiction but this is actually women's fiction at its best. Raine's life in 1950's Australia is so well described my own lack of knowledge was no hindrance to me. I was kept guessing till the end. I loved every bit of this book. Read whatever you can by this versatile author. You won't regret it.


The Stars Will Guide Us Back - Rue Sparks

The special ability of a jellyfish may be one man’s only hope to save his husband.


In a world where the gods have returned, their only folly was not expecting humanity to fight back.


When trauma disconnects someone's soul from their body, one person has the ability to reunite them.


A family gift of reading the spirits in flames has taken everything from her, but can it give her everything she needs?


In The Stars Will Guide Us Back, thirteen short stories encapsulating the elements of speculative fiction and magical realism travel the themes of mental health, loss, mortality, self-confidence, and finding hope through difficult circumstances. Explore the immersive worlds within, along with a range of peculiar, distinct, and queer characters.


Sometimes confidence comes from knowing we have no other choice, and the ones who rescue us come from the strangest places. Dark and light collide in this collection that highlights the liminal spaces of the human experience.

My Review

I invite you on a journey to places you have never been and maybe wouldn't choose to go. Leave behind improbability and rational thought and let yourself play. Just accept things as they are presented and have faith.

Rue Sparks takes us to 13 places I have never been before. I didn't even know what speculative fiction was never mind read any. Magical realism is a recent discovery. This book has Rue Spark's name on it so I went for the "if you haven't read the genre but you have read the author" approach. This doesn't mean I can explain speculative fiction but given that this book deals with things that would be firmly in the I can't explain category I guess that fits. As writers we are taught to ask "what if?" and Rue certainly has done that. This book is amazing and inspiring.

We are firmly in Rue's safe hands. Remember The Stars Will Guide Us Back.