As you all probably know by now, I don't do reviews often. I tend to keep my mouth shut unless a book made a major impression on me, and I'm even less likely to write a review of something by someone I know because it tends to feed the Trolls.
And yet, here I am, putting finger to keyboard to tell you about this book. The Feline Queen is a collection of short stories by Joanne, published by Wolfsinger Publications, and with cover art by the awesome Andy Bigwood.
I first met Joanne at Fantasycon '12, and then again at Bristolcon '12 (where she was one of the organisers, and a damned fine con it was too). And I'll be perfectly honest, it wasn't me that bought her book. I had already spent my book budget for the con (on some sketches by Tom Brown, if I remember) . It was my partner. So its all her fault.
So I put up with a week of my partner ranting at how god this was and how I had to push it to the top of my 'To Read' list - so for a quiet life that's what I did.
The best way I can describe 'Feline Queen' is to draw a parallel with a box of chocolate; you resolutely put the lid back on, place the box out of arms reach, and steadfastly commit not to have another one for at least an hour - until the little demon inside your head whispers 'go on - just one more'. So I can honestly say that Joanne Hall cost me at least four hours sleep over the past week.
There are so many 'the thing I like about's with this collection its difficult to know where to start. My partner described it as a collection of campfire stories. For me, I think it was the variety. Although most stories had a fantasy feel, there was no over preponderance of sword and sorcery. Indeed, there was a strong thread of faerie tales and humour that ran throughout.
I don't do spoilers, and I don't do descriptions of the stories. I know I should in a review, but to me it smack to much of spoiling the joy of the next reader. I will say look out for the girl who can walk on smoke, and I give special awards to the title story, 'The Witch on the Wall', and 'Ismay's Run'
A truly well deserved five stars and 'must read'.