Clariel by Garth Nix: one for the children

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid to the sinister Guildmaster Kilip. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.

My review:

This is the first (and I think only) book by Garth Nix that I’ve read, or will read. It came across very much as a children’s fantasy book and not really that engaging for adults. That’s absolutely fine of course, but I wish I’d known this before I started. The beginning is very slow so it was a relief to get to the middle where the plot started to kick in.

Then a lot of things (murder! journeys! danger!) happen all at once which is great, but then it got a bit out of hand and there was way too much happening by the end so I lost interest and started skipping. It was odd because I started off really liking Clariel, but when she began to actually do something, I couldn’t work out her reasoning so found her rather facile. Oh, and I hated the pesky cat. We really didn’t need it – a bit of a ‘MacGuffin”. So, all in all, an okay read for the young, but not for me.

Anne Brooke Books

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The Emergency Poet: An Anti-Stress Poetry Anthology

The Blurb: 

A brilliant new anthology of poems that will help you to overcome stress, depression and other anxieties.

Arranged by spiritual ailment, the sections include a range of verse, new and old, which may be of comfort to those in need of a pick-me-up for the soul.
The collection has been carefully compiled by Deborah Alma, the world’s first and only emergency poet, who travels to schools, libraries, festivals and other events in her 1970s’ ambulance to offer consultations and prescribe poems as cures for various maladies. This collection is designed to lift your mood and offers poetic help whenever it may be required.
 
My review:

This is a gorgeous selection of poetry and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some poems were old friends and it was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with them; other poems were totally new and I am adding these poets to my reading list. I love the way the poems are gathered into key themes as this is very helpful if you want something for a particular crisis occasion. I thoroughly recommend this book.

Anne Brooke Books

Conversations With God Book One by Neale Donald Walsch: New Age irritation

This has some interesting gems of wisdom, but on the whole it’s New Age-type vagueness writ large. Sometimes it strays into dullness, and it needed a lot of editing to make it have any kind of impact for me.

Still, I’m glad the writing of it helped the author through a difficult time, but it’s curiously irritating. I won’t be rushing out for the sequel!

Anne Brooke Books

The Beginning of Knowledge: gay BDSM romance

Gay BDSM romance The Beginning of Knowledge is now available at Amazon for only 99p!

When University administrator Alan Castleton meets temporary worker and talented pianist Luke Milton, he doesn’t expect to become obsessed with the handsome young blond. But soon he is heavily involved in a passionate and angry affair, and exploring the dark shadows of his own personality in a way he’s never encountered before.

The more Alan tries to break free from his obsession, the deeper it entangles him. The dangerous split between his reason and his sexual desires threatens his peace of mind and, when the crisis point comes, he must decide once and for all the kind of life he should lead.

Reviews:

“I want more. The characterisations were terrific, the chemistry, for what it was, perfect, the sex was dark, nasty, erotic as sin … and I LOVED it. This is one of my favourite Anne Brooke reads. I loved the dark eroticism and the excellent development of the characters. In such a short word count I felt like I knew both men well.” (From a 5 star review at On Top Down Under Reviews)

“The writing here is superb. I felt as if I knew Alan intimately only a few pages into his first person narrative because for all that he’s blind to what is going on he’s starkly transparent. So I commend Anne for writing a story that is indeed knowledgeable, that is informative but at the same time seductively sexy. I think you should read this one just to see what you take from it.” (From a 4 star review at The Armchair Reader)

“A dark erotic short that isn’t my usual type of read … So I started reading this with trepidation and, much to my surprise, I loved it … This is a really well written story about discovery of oneself written in a very sexy way.” (From a 4 star review at World of Diversity Reviews)

I hope you enjoy the read.

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK

Salt and Gold: Meditations on Exodus and St Luke

Salt and Gold - Twitter

My Biblical poetry collection, Salt and Gold, is now available for only 99p at Amazon.

A series of forty meditation poems based on the stories of Exodus and the Gospel of St Luke. Particular themes are light and darkness, journeying, prayer, and the inherent otherness of God. How can human beings truly respond to God’s mercy and justice in an imperfect world?

I hope you enjoy the read.

Anne Brooke Books

A Stranger’s Table: poetry collection

 

My poetry collection, A Stranger’s Table, is now available at Amazon for only 99p.
A poetry collection focusing on the strangeness of everyday life, and how even the simplest of objects or events can help us see with fresh eyes. An old table can be the entry to an unexplored history, a film can take us on a journey we never planned, and an infestation of wasps can turn into a war we never asked to fight.
Reviews:

“There are lovely poems in Anne Brooke’s A Stranger’s Table … this is a book that (along with many by more famous poets) gives the lie to the idea that self-publication should be shameful.” (From a review at Galatea Resurrects Reviews)

I hope you enjoy the read.

Dancing with Lions and Other Stories

 

Short story collection, Dancing with Lions and Other Stories is now available at Amazon for just 99p!

Relationships, whether contemporary, fantastical or those lost in biblical history, can make or break us all. When love falls in a place you least expect it, the consequences can be life-affirming, life-destroying or even, on occasions, funny. Discover what happens when an artist falls in love with his model; when something as simple as fruit leads to passion; when marriage provides unexpected opportunities for lust or despair; and even when a dictionary encounters love. The results are guaranteed to surprise you!

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books