Panenka

Ronan Hession. Bluemoose Books. (180p) ISBN 9781910422670

Panenka

Panenka

After such a great debut I was really looking forward to reading Rónán’s follow up and was lucky enough to get sent a copy from Bluemoose Books to read and review.

During a year where we are all just feeling raw, as though our nerve endings feel exposed to the world there is a great need for gentle books that explore emotions and the human condition in a non-traumatic way and Panenka does this beautifully.

This is a book of ordinary circumstances in an ordinary world happening to ordinary people but it is delivered and explored in such an extraordinary fashion with compassion and warmth that encourages you to empathise greatly with the characters and their plight without shredding your own emotional equilibrium.

It is such a fine tightrope to walk and get done perfectly but Rónán achieves it so well once more.

It follows a few months in the life of Panenka and the people that orbit around him. Their traumas, relationships and emotional connections are then revealed and it is in these revelations that Rónán excels in opening up the human condition but it is in such a non-voyeuristic manner that you never feel uncomfortable with it.

I loved every single word of this and it will be staying on my bookshelf for rereading and enjoying forever.

Panenka is due for release in May 2021 and I would advise you preorder this to get it in your hands as soon as possible.


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The Hollow Gods

A.J. Vrana. The Parliament House. (430p) ISBN 9781733386807

The Hollow Gods

The Hollow Gods

Based in current day North America, it follows Kai, Miya, and Mason as they uncover and unravel the mythology of the Dreamwalker and the cycle of missing girls.

The main characters are introduced early on and motivations are made clear from the start though as the weaving of the characters and story progresses these motivations become more unclear and tangled.

A lot of good world building to support the mythology that is being developed as this is the first of a duology, but by no means does this feel unfinished an waiting for the second book.

A play on some of the usual fantasy/horror tropes that has worked well. Wolves, ravens, dream states, all wind together and build to a great conclusion.

Well-paced and gripping for most of the book, it took me a day and a half to finish.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

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Elizabeth & Zenobia

Jessica Miller. Faber & Faber. (240p) ISBN 9780571335732

Elizabeth & Zenobia

Elizabeth & Zenobia

It’s actually been a while since I read Elizabeth and Zenobia and it still stands strong in my mind.

A wonderful mystery with imaginary (?) friends, loss, obsession and certain Victorian sensibilities.

Elizabeth moves to a big house in the countryside with forbidden areas and strange happenings, her father is distant but her imaginary friend Zenobia is intrigued by the happenings in the house (well for most of the time if she doesn’t get bored that is).

Elizabeth and Zenobia have to solve the mystery of the house to save another and themselves.

There is a lot of creepy humour and adventure throughout the book, I love Witheringe House. The intrigue interwoven with their father’s past and his plant obsession is fascinating, and the friendship between Elizabeth and Zenobia is wonderfully portrayed.

Quite looking forward to The Republic of Birds which comes out this October.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

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Jungledrop

Abi Elphinstone. Simon & Schuster. (288p) ISBN 9781471173684

Jungledrop

Jungledrop

I’ve got to admit that this is the first in the series that I’ve read and was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow the story and miss out on the full experience.

I’m so glad to say that Jungledrop stands alone as a wonderful adventure in a stunningly magical world.

We follow the adventures of Fox and Fibber Petty-Squabble who’ve been brought up to believe that stomping on people and not thinking of others was the way to success and success equals monetary wealth and power over others.

They are unceremoniously brought to Jungledrop, the source of rain in our world, where Morg the Harpy has been draining the world of its magic which will eventually spell the end of both worlds.

Strong themes of trust, growth, friendship, kindness, and family are dealt with throughout this exciting adventure and what seems impossible at first becomes easier with friends and family.

Jungledrop is an imaginative and beautiful world, lots of strong supporting characters and Morg is a great baddie.

Looking forward to reading the preceding book and what’s still to come.

Another Elphinstone cracker!


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.