Category Archives: Fiction

Review: Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary

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 ‘A bone-chilling debut novel with unexpected twists. Sarah Hilary has opened new possibilities and perspectives in the realm of crime fiction with her novel Someone Else’s Skin.’

As a crime and mystery aficionado I always play a guessing game with myself, while reading crime fiction. I am thrilled to say that I failed this time. Sarah Hilary’s Someone Else’s Skin is eerily unpredictable. With quite a few story lines, it is not until you are half way through, that you see light. The beginning is like a mass of untidy knitting where every tangled yarn confuses you more. However, when you see light at the end of the tunnel, you have unraveled the mystery just like DI Marnie Rome and you also realize, that the confusion in the beginning is not confusion at all, but exactly what the characters feel.

The multiple themes of crime and violence are dealt with very well and you understand how skilled Hilary is. The author did not tread softly around sensitive issues like gender, culture,race and sexual violence, instead she had a very sympathetic approach to it, which made the plot and the characters very believable and real to the readers.

Ayana Mirza and Stephen’s story was left hanging in the air and I wish there was more to it because the story starts with these two characters in a pivotal role. They are abruptly cut off as soon as DS Noah Jakes and DI Marnie find the not-quite body in the refuge.

However Sarah Hilary has shown a lot of promise and talent and I will definitely recommend the book to Crime Fiction and contemporary novel readers.

I am a Lovereading Reviewer Panel member and  I received this book in return of my honest opinion. This review can also be found on  Lovereading.co.uk

Amrita Dasgupta

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Review: The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander

Ruby slippers

How can a smelly old bag lady change your life? That is exactly what the characters in this social drama thought about their unkempt acquaintance, Rosa. But things changed after her death when a pair of Ruby slippers were found in her possession.

Not unlike Cinderella’s glass shoe and Dorothy’s magic shoes, the shoe metaphor has a pivotal role to play in this urban fairy tale. The Ruby slippers entranced everybody and drew out the good, bad and ugly in everyone. It enticed, teased and gave them new hopes and desperate dreams.

Michael the Grocer goes on a journey of self exploration, where he learns more about his life and his Aunt Rosa’s. Despite the odds and pressure, unlike some others, he remains resolute that the ruby slippers is a sign of beauty and hope in their lives and not a sudden windfall.

Keir Alexander’s debut novel has shown mastery over plot and character building. Creating many multi-dimensional characters in a compelling and convoluted story is no mean feat. Although I found the novel well paced, it might appear slow to some. But I believe the plot and the build up needed the gentle walk-in-the-park treatment quite unlike the mad rush of New York City.

I am a Lovereading review panel member and I received an ARC for my honest and unbiased opinion of the book. Published by Constable and Robinson the book will be available on Amazon and Lovereading.co.uk from 20 March 2014.

An Appointment at the Edge of Forever

Appointment Cover 12-13

Overview

Filion felt safe in his role as a Dream Searcher. He was paid to venture into other’s dreams and exert influence over individuals whom he would never meet in the flesh.
But that was until he received The Summoning. Filion has been called to track down and protect Ryo, the last of the Chozen. She is the only hope of preventing a tide of evil driven by the Afortiori and the prospect of universal slavery if they aren’t stopped.

Time is ticking and Filion has no idea of how to find Ryo let alone how to protect her, yet destinies of planets rest in her hands. Enlisting the help of a rag-tag band of mercenaries, Filion will set out to search the wastes for Ryo. Together they will confront an evil whose power they just might have fatally underestimated.

Review:

It’s been a long time since I last read a sci-fi that didn’t feel like I’ve read it before. Perrin Pring with book one of the Ryo Myths has managed a near perfect combination of sci-fi and magic. The concept of the series is based on a set of super-beings the Eoans who have created the universe, planets and its inhabitants. Ryo is a special creation who can make or break the universe as they know it. The race against time to reach Ryo before she is captured by their enemies is the main theme of the story.

Following the recent trend of strong female leads, Pring’s major characters are female. Filion, the scrawny giant with beautiful fur is the protagonist in this particular book but isn’t exactly leader material. Captain Erin and Wiq are well rounded characters who support Filion in his race with their timely intervention.

Perrin Pring has a vivid imagination and has managed to bring to life a world where technology and nature coexist with tenuous harmony. However certain areas could be improved upon. I would have liked more details about the different races mentioned. Details about the Keepers and their magical abilities could also be elaborated upon and I believe the author has the imaginative ability to do so. I am just more impressed with the concept than with the plot. To avoid a spoiler I won’t tell you what happens in the end but did it need to be that drastic? Although the end limits the abundant possibilities for book two I would definitely like to read all the books in the series.

I hope Perrin is already writing book two!

Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author

My name is Perrin Pring. My first novel, Appointment at the Edge of Forever, is the first book of the Ryo Myths, a science fiction trilogy. I’ve also written a handful of shorts, one of which, Enabled, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’ve had a variety of adventures which have given me a lot of subject matter for my writing. I’ve worked as a dish washer. I’ve been a volunteer ski patroller. I’ve represented in the United States in international white water kayaking races. I’m learning Italian. I’ve lived on Maui, and in college, I worked as a raft guide in Grand Teton National Park.

I love to read, write and be outside. I hope you enjoy my reading my work as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Review: The Weight of a Feather and Other Stories by Judy Croomer

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Buy: Amazon Paperback | Kindle | Barnes & Nobles

Synopsis:

“The promise implicit in an anthology is that it aspires to present something different, unexpected” Joyce Carol Oates (Introduction to The Oxford Book of American Short Stories) From the classical form of ‘The Weight of a Feather’, first published by The Huffington Post (2013), to the suggestive allegory of ‘The Leopard and The Lizard’, this collection of short stories by South African author Judy Croome is an ideal mix of the familiar and the startling. These vibrant slices of life testify to the mysterious and luminous resources of the human spirit. Whether feeling the harrowing emotion in ‘The Last Sacrifice’ or the jauntiness of ‘Jannie Vermaak’s New Bicycle’, the reader will delight in a plethora of stories that cross boundaries to both challenge and entertain with their variety.

Review:

Judy Croome is a fantastic storyteller. She takes the reader on a journey through life and its various nuances. All of Croome’s stories have a message that the reader can take away, the sign of a brilliant short story. If a story makes an impact on you then, you are more likely to repeat it to your friends and thus spread its popularity. The anthology starts of with ‘The Weight of a Feather’, which deals with the sudden milestones of growing up. Learning curves which are not necessarily forgivable.

In a flowing but often brutal style the characters and their tangible emotions leap off their pages. ‘One can feel like a voyeur peeking vicariously into a person’s life, or be swept into a nightmare.’ as one Goodreads reviewer wisely states. Even stories like The Biter Bit and The Negotiation, short as they are, reverberate with your conscience a long time later.

The stories in this anthology are something you would read in a newspaper with your morning cup of tea, or the last thing you read on the train and often think about it at work. It is very easy to imagine what the characters might have done next after the story ends. Such is the beauty and poignancy of the authors writing and the versatility of the genre.

Judy Croome

About the author:

Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy’s short stories and poems have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, such as the Huffington Post and the University of the Witwatersrand’s Itch Magazine. Her books “The Weight of a Feather & Other Stories” (2013), “a Lamp at Midday” (2012) and “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” (2011) are available. Judy loves her family, cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, cats, rainy days, ancient churches with their ancient graveyards, cats, meditation and solitude. Oh, and cats. Judy loves cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.) She is currently researching child murders for her next novel and you can visit Judy on www.judycroome.com or join her on Twitter @judy_croome , Facebook and Goodreads.

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Review: Slide by Michelle Congdon

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Slide is one of those feel good novels that I would read when I am down in dumps. Michelle Congdon’s venture into the world of fiction has had a good start. From the delectable Ryan Fox to the perfect Evangeline, everything and everyone in this début novel is designed to please. Fast paced and slick Ryan Fox the hero of Slide might just develop a fan following amongst the young adult readers.

I would have enjoyed more if there was more of a mystery behind the various deaths in the novel because in the beginning there were hints that  the deaths were not just accidental. However after the slight build up of suspense the story changes its course. Elaborating on the suspense element might have added a little more depth to the story.

This was also the first time that I realized, I am older than the protagonists! It did come as a shock but adult contemporary novels are often written with a certain age group in mind. However, are present day 22 year olds thinking of marriage? Slide and its issues felt like going back in time. Other than the presence of cellular phones, Slide could have been an Adult Contemporary Novel from the 1980s. But, as I have mentioned before, Slide is a wonderful book to pick when you need lift.

Michelle Congdon has very graciously shared Ten Random Facts about Slide. So, I hope they satisfy your curiosity. If not, I am sure she’ll oblige to answer more questions in the comments section below.

Ten Random Facts about Slide by Michelle Congdon

  1. Her grandparent’s real names are Caleb & Marina Sinclair.
  2. The first dream I ever had of Slide ended completely different. Derek was mean and evil!!
  3. I couldn’t think of a title for a very long time. At work one day, I ended up getting a group of my friends to think up of a name each. The best two were then put into a bucket and the winner was drawn out. Slide won, obviously. 🙂
  4. When I wrote in Ryan’s mother and sisters, the beautiful actress Monica Bellucci popped into my head, so she was my inspiration for the girls.
  5. The scene where Ryan’s dog almost bites him, happened in real life to my cousin while I was holding his small Chihuahua. Even though it was my cousin’s puppy, Toby, was quite fond of me and thought my cousin was trying to hurt me. I still laugh about it to this day.
  6. Just like Derek and Evangeline, my friends and I watched re-runs of Will and Grace when we were younger. We also watched re-runs of Friends and the hilarious Australian comedy, Kath and Kim. We would spend entire weekends without moving away from the television.
  7. All the re-writes were because Ryan had something funnier to say.
  8. The twins, Willah and Hunter, were the last characters to be written into the story. I had almost reached the end when Hunter popped into my head. He wants a story of his own, and so does his sister!!
  9. Even though a friend of mine inspired Ryan’s character, and also some of my favourite TV shows, all I picture when I think about him is the extremely delicious model, David Gandy. Swoon!!

There you have it 10 random facts 🙂 Have any more questions? Send them my way and I’ll try my best to answer them. M Xx

About the Author

AuthorMichelle Congdon resides in Sydney, Australia. She has Dalmatian named Jett, who to this day continues to hold an 8 year grudge against her after she had to leave him with her parents when she moved to the big city- this only proves animals are much like their owners. Michelle enjoys reading books of all sorts of genre’s, watching way too many movies and TV shows (and Disney cartoons), singing out aloud to her favourite hits and going on adventures involving food and travel. Michelle is loud, talks a lot and shares an ever-growing list of fictional husbands with a friend. From when she was a small girl, she has always had an over active imagination and has tried to put it to good use by sharing her stories with anyone willing to listen.

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Slide by Michelle Congdon Releases Today

Slide Cover-b

After surviving a horrific car accident that claimed the lives of her mother and brother, Evangeline made a promise to herself to never go back to the city filled with the memories of her tragic past. But when her estranged father suddenly falls ill, she has no choice but to return to New York and to the life she spent twelve years trying to avoid. Since the accident, heiress to the multi-billion dollar Montgomery Empire, Evangeline has always feared the media attention that comes with having the Montgomery name and would immediately give it all up if it meant the chance to bring back her loved ones. Delicate and camera shy, the last person she should have on her mind is a type of guy like Ryan Fox. Witty, extremely arrogant but undeniably good-looking are only a few words Evangeline can use to describe the New York Yankee’s hot-shot. The notorious bad boy― well-versed at playing the game both on and off the field― isn’t fazed about the media circus following his every move and couldn’t be any more different to the quiet, shy girl that she is. So, what does a guy like him see in somebody as messed-up as her? And although everything about Ryan screams trouble with a capital T, why can’t Evangeline seem to stay away? It’s not until they’re away from the cameras that Evangeline begins to see the real man hiding behind the cocky facade- one that’s hurt and haunted by a dark and terrible secret.

What will happen once Evangeline finds the courage to reveal what really happened on the evening her mother and brother died? And how will she react when she finally learns the truth about Ryan’s chilling past? Will baring their deepest secrets bring them closer together or will it tear them apart and have them sliding into darkness all over again?

The Book Releases Today!

 

MEET RYAN FOX

Ryan Fox

Full name: Ryan Aaron Fox

Age: 24

Date of birth: 15th February 1989

Race: American/ Italian

Gender: Male

Height: 6’4

Weight: 205lb

Eye color: Greenish Hazel

Distinguishing features: Dimple on left cheek

Build of body: Tall, Athletic

Hair color: Dark Brown

Hair style: Wavy, Medium Length

Complexion: Olive

Current residence: New York City

Occupation: Pitcher for the New York Yankees

Hometown: New Jersey

Parents: Joseph & Serafina Fox

Siblings: Chiara, Liliana, Gabriella & Annabelle

Hobbies/past times: Collecting sports cars and artwork, attending and supporting local charities, spending time with family, watching the NBL, modeling.

Talents: Highest paid baseball player in the MLB to date.

Favorite types of music: R&B, Alternative, Old School Rock.

Favorite types of food: Mom’s homemade Italian cooking, Sushi and Pizza.

Favorite types of drink: Beer, Scotch and vintage Champagne.

Ryan picked up his first baseball at the tender age of six. He played throughout his school years and was drafted into the major leagues by the New York Yankees two weeks before his sixteenth birthday. He played his first game in the same week, placing him in the same category as some of youngest players in the world. During the past eight years, Ryan has impressed the baseball world by winning two MVP Awards, Rookie of the Year and two Cy Young Awards. He has also made six All-Star game appearances. When not busy training, playing ball or modeling for endorsements, Ryan likes to spend his down time helping his favorite charities, going to NBL games and going out with his friends and team mates. He would do absolutely anything for his family and is very protective of his sisters, especially Annabelle. Since his father’s passing, Ryan has made it his duty to be a strong, positive role model to his youngest sister. Ryan has had no previous relationships due to his baseball commitments. He prefers to have one-night stands, so neither party has time to develop feelings. That is until Evangeline Montgomery walked into his life…

About the Author

AuthorMichelle Congdon resides in Sydney, Australia. She has Dalmatian named Jett, who to this day continues to hold an 8 year grudge against her after she had to leave him with her parents when she moved to the big city- this only proves animals are much like their owners. Michelle enjoys reading books of all sorts of genre’s, watching way too many movies and TV shows (and Disney cartoons), singing out aloud to her favorite hits and going on adventures involving food and travel. Michelle is loud, talks a lot and shares an ever-growing list of fictional husbands with a friend. From when she was a small girl, she has always had an over active imagination and has tried to put it to good use by sharing her stories with anyone willing to listen.

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Slide S4

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