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Ravens Gathering – Book Review

This is Graeme Cumming’s debut novel, and a cracking good one it is too. I first discovered Graeme’s writing and blog site from a comment he left in relation to a self-publishing conference we had both attended back in March of this year. After having read and commented on several of his posts I thought I would read his debut novel too. Again, it’s a little outside my usual range of genre but having read the amazon freebie pages, decided it might be something I would like…

To read more of Graeme Cumming’s writing see his blog at:


Ravens Gathering, by Graeme Cumming 

(Available in eBook format from Amazon)

Ravenspic2Although this book sets off at a rather sedate pace, right from the start the reader knows there’s something a bit eerie and weird going on, and that beneath the seemly normal facade of everyday life, something more sinister is lurking just beneath the surface.

Set against the backdrop of Ravens Gathering, a village and small farming community in the north of England, the opening and early chapters set the scene for a gripping story of unanswered questions, family tensions, past suicides, and possibly even murder and the supernatural; the arrival of an apparent stranger to the village turning out to be the unexpected return of a villager’s son after fifteen years without a word of contact raises as many questions as it answers. The author teases the reader with further clues and snippets of information as the book goes on, slowly drawing together the many different strands of the story to a thrilling and unexpected conclusion.

There were a couple of times towards the end of the book when events overtook me somewhat and I thought the pace could have been slowed down just a little. There were a couple of scenes and instances where a little more background research would have added a tad more authenticity, but overall, these minor concerns weren’t enough to spoil my enjoyment in any way, and the author did a good job in using realistic dialogue and the characterisation to drive the story forward.

One of the things I especially liked was that the paranormal and supernatural elements were for the most part, only ever hinted at for much of the time, allowing the reader to really engage with the characters and what was happening rather than having to suspend disbelief right from the offset; by the time anything supernatural or ‘other worldly’ was overtly introduced, the author had already laid the foundations sufficiently well for the reader to accept them as a natural and essential progression of the story. I also liked the way the author tied up some of the loose ends, but still left more than enough scope for a sequel. Despite a few minor issues, an ambitious and well written book, and definitely one that I would recommend. Would I read any sequels? Absolutely yes!

Reborn – Book Review

51aT5Z6d1rL__AA160_This is a book I discovered quite by accident as a result of a comment posted by the author in reply to one of my blog posts. The author’s own blog,, is a most interesting, professional, and well written one, sufficiently so as to tempt me into taking a closer look at her debut novel, Reborn.

As a middle aged man with very set literary tastes it was not a book I would normally have been drawn to but a quick look at the Amazon free sample was enough to wet my appetite. I’m pleased it was, which leads me stray off topic for a moment – one of the added and definite bonuses of blogging is the sheer variety of writing to be explored, the discovery of novels and genres that otherwise one might never have taken the time and trouble to read and enjoy…

Reborn, by S.L. Stacy (available in both print and Kindle ebook formats)

This debut book from S.L. Stacy combines elements of fantasy, romance, mythology, and science fiction and yet still retains a very contemporary feel. Whereas in many books that explore similar themes where the reader has to completely suspend disbelief, here the author achieves a believable and flowing story that moves along at a thrilling pace; from the very first chapter there are mysteries to be solved with the promise of many more to follow.

Written in the first person, the narrator, Siobhan, a high school sorority girl with a secret that takes the reader on a journey across time and space, is faced with many dangers and dilemmas as she comes to discover just who and what she is. Set against the backdrop of American college life, the unfolding story of Siobhan’s past and present is cleverly interwoven with her romantic involvements and everyday college life; this and the occasional references to popular culture give the novel a contemporary feel often lacking in novels of this genre. By writing in the first person, the central character, Siobhan, is as fully developed a character as you could ever hope for, but this is not at the expense of the other core characters, many of whom are fascinating enough in their own right to warrant possible sequels of their own in the future.

In the early parts of the novel, Siobhan is clear in her mind who her friends are and who the enemy is, but events unfold to reveal that nothing is so clear. Initially the reader is led to believe the story centres on the theme of lost and reunited love, but again, the story unfolds in different and unexpected directions. Conflict, dilemmas, and shifting alliances all emerge to provide the ingredients of an exciting page turner. I’ve deliberately avoided referring too closely to the plot itself, as to do so might well spoil the potential reader’s enjoyment, or inadvertently give too much away.

Whilst ‘Reborn’ stands well as a stand-alone novel, there are enough unanswered questions and speculations as to the future to warrant, if not demand an entire series. Had I not already known this was a debut novel I would have assumed this to be one of many from an established author. Highly recommended.

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