Shadows in the Stone

June 21, 2012 by Darlene Foster: I don’t often read fantasy, but I have been following this author and the premise of her story sounded intriguing. I was not disappointed and found I was unable to put the book down. This may be fantasy but the characters are very real. Ms. McGyver has created characters you care about as they deal with their personal demons, suppressed feelings, secrets, magical powers and unrequited love. Alaura of Niamh, my favourite character, is both tough and gentle, as well as mysterious. Bronwyn and Alaura have a unique relationship which can also be frustrating at times. The child, Isla, will capture your heart as she has her foster-father Bronwyn’s. The author paints a palpable picture of the land of Ath-o’Lea, sparing no details. A number of fantastical creatures make their appearance adding colour and interest.

Many characters are introduced in this book and I had trouble keeping track of all of them. I also felt there were too many questions left unanswered at the end of the book. What happened to Isla? What secret is Alaura keeping and why can’t she join with Bronwyn? What is wrong inside Aruam Castle? Who is the traitor? What is, “The Prophesy”? I may be kept up at night wondering.

This is the first book in The Castle Keeper series and I look forward to reading the next three books to find the answers. This is a great read for those who love fantasy and for those who are new to it.

June 20, 2012 by Cheryl O’Neill: Shadows in the Stone is captivating in its simplicity. It is fantasy explored with simple, concise language that any reader can (and will) enjoy. I don’t normally read fantasy but the town of Maskill pulled me in, and very much became 3-dimensional. Alaura and Bronwyn’s love is pure, as is their adoration for Isla. Their journey to find the young hauflin is fraught with trouble and Diane Lynn McGyver captures the danger in a succession of well written action scenes that keeps the reader engaged.

It delves in to a world that exists only in our imaginations, and yet we are drawn in to it as though it is real. I look forward to the next installment of the trilogy and recommend this book to anybody who is hovering on the edge of the fantasy world.

June 15, 2012 by Don Cram: After enjoying this book I have a hard time not believing its world actually exists somewhere, maybe in Nova Scotia. Fantastic in all senses of the word. Now on to book two in the series.

From my review of the book at  This first book in Diane Lynn McGyver’s Castle Keepers series is very well done and will keep you turning pages right to the end. What I particularly enjoyed in this solidly mainstream fantasy is its fresh focus on established themes. It’s like an award-winning movie director telling the person behind the camera to lower or raise the picture in the viewfinder for a new angle. The fantasy world McGyver has created has the magical beings you might expect, but you’ll see them in new ways and see their story with fresh insights. At 190 centimeters I’m taller than the average person; the book made be believe I was seeing a magical world from a height a little less than half that. Enjoy.

Mutated Blood Lines

May 31, 2012 by Don Cram: A good short story mixing real and fictional places in Atlantic Canada, it is fantasy with a touch of scifi, interesting characters, and a worthy read. I enjoyed it.