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Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE: A NOVELLA by Becky Chambers (@HarperVoyagerUS) #sci-fi

Hi all:

I don’t often read novellas or sci-fi, but I enjoyed this one:

To Be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers

To Be Taught, If Fortunate: A Novella by Becky Chambers

In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.

FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

‘Extraordinary . . . A future masterwork’ Joanne Harris

At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in sub-zero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to explore neighbouring exoplanets long suspected to harbour life.

Ariadne is one such explorer. On a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds fifteen light-years from Earth, she and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.

https://www.amazon.com/Be-Taught-If-Fortunate-Novella-ebook/dp/B07N2Z7B6Z/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Be-Taught-If-Fortunate-Novella-ebook/dp/B07N2Z7B6Z/

https://www.amazon.es/Be-Taught-If-Fortunate-Novella-ebook/dp/B07N2Z7B6Z/

Author Becky Chambers

About the author:

Becky Chambers was raised in California as the progeny of an astrobiology educator, an aerospace engineer, and an Apollo-era rocket scientist. Her first novel, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, was originally funded via Kickstarter in 2012. It went on to be nominated for the 2014 Kitschies and the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. The sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit, will be blasting off soon.

After living in Scotland and Iceland, Becky is now back in her home state, where she lives with her spouse. She is a devotee of video and tabletop games, and enjoys spending time in nature. She hopes to see Earth from orbit one day.

https://www.amazon.com/Becky-Chambers/e/B00LUQWGAU/

My review:

This is my first contact with Becky Chambers’s work, and I can’t comment on how it compares with the rest, but I read a review of this novella that intrigued me greatly, and I’m pleased I decided to purchase it and read it. She is a favourite among science-fiction fans, and I can see why.

The description gives a good idea of what the story is about. Ariadne, one of the four members of Lawki 6, a mission part of a programme to explore life outside Earth, with each mission focusing on certain planets that are believed to be able to hold (or develop) some form of life. She is a flight engineer, and each one of the other members of the crew (Elena, Jack, and Chikondi) has their own specialization and their own characteristics. One is a stickler for detail, another one hates early mornings, one is forever listening to music, another one only things about rocks, or plants… They are all young and have spent most of their lives either training or on missions, so although there isn’t much personal information (but there is some) forthcoming, that is not surprising. As the story is narrated in the first person by Ariadne, we hear more from her, but there is enough detail provided to get a sense of how wondrous (but also at time claustrophobic and horrendous) life can be for all of them. And although each one has a different way of coping, they are all tested and survive because they are a team.

I am not a big science-fiction reader and don’t have the knowledge to discuss the ins-and-outs of the science behind the novella, although there is a great deal of research in evidence, which allows readers to understand how things work without overwhelming us with complex explanations. The way the information is delivered reminded me of The Martian, minus the peculiar sense of humour of that novel’s protagonist, and here Ariadne is self-conscious of the fact that what she is explaining might be too much or too little depending on the audience and acknowledges it in her narration. I enjoyed the snippets of science weaved into the story, which I found fascinating, and became even more interested when I read about the author’s sources of information in her acknowledgments. I am not sure hard-core science fiction fans will find this novella up to their standards, but I loved the science part of it as much, if not more, as the fiction. Apart from the science part of the book, the novella also asks some pretty big questions, I’d dare call philosophical, about the nature of knowledge, and what is justified and what is not. Is knowledge for its own sake sufficient? Should everything have a practical application? These are questions humanity has been asking from the beginning of time, and I am not sure we’ll ever get an answer that satisfies everybody.

The writing style combines beautifully descriptive passages (the crew comes across some wonderful landscapes and creatures, and some horrible ones as well), and others where background information is imparted, telling more than showing, although this is fully justified by the premise of the novella, which is a combination of memoir, epistle, and report. There are moments of action, and some when readers are likely to think they know where things are going, but people expecting a standard adventure are bound to be disappointed. This is not a page-turner in the usual sense, and there are many moments of contemplation, wonder, but also of frustration and routine.

The book’s ending is open as it closes with a question, and each reader is free to imagine what comes next. I know what I’d like to happen, but worry that it is unlikely within the premise of the novella. The story proper ends around the 90% mark, as after the acknowledgements there is a sample of another one of the author’s novels, in case readers wonder about its actual length.

I recommend this novella to anybody who enjoys the science bit in science-fiction, and to anybody who likes to imagine and wonder how other worlds might be.  It might disappoint those looking for action and adventure, but if you like to let your imagination fly, think, and ask yourself big questions; this novella might be for you. I am sure this won’t be the last of Chamber’s books I read.

Thanks to the author, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and always keep smiling and be safe out there (or indoors). 

Categories
Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog Human Flesh by Nick Clausen (@NickClausen9) A scary novella that asks us some uncomfortable questions #RBRT

Hi all:

Today I bring you a short but scary read, from Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Human Flesh by Nick Clausen
Human Fish by Nick Clausen

Human Flesh by Nick Clausen

THEY NEVER CAUGHT IT …

During the winter of 2017, a series of strange occurrences took place in a small town of northern Maine. A rational explanation for what happened has still not been presented. Now, for the first time, all available evidence is being released to the public from what is commonly known as the Freyston case.

Human Flesh was originally published in Danish to great reviews, and is now available in English. This dark winter horror story will also satisfy crime lovers, as the plot is told through written evidence in a fictitious murder case. For fans of Hannibal Lecter, and those who enjoyed the mood of Pet Sematary and the style of Carrie.

REVIEWS

“Great, mysterious and creepy … I couldn’t put it down”

★★★★★ Adventures of a Book Nerd

“All the planning it must have taken to put the story together is impressive. And the effect is enormous. It gave me chills and I still feel it”

★★★★★ Bookish Love Affair

Author Nick Clausen
Author Nick Clausen

About the author:

Began writing at the age of 18 with a promise of doing 1,000 words a day until he got a book published. Kept that promise 18 months and 13 manuscripts later. Done almost 30 books since then. Lived as a full-time writer since 2017. Began translating his books into English in 2019. Prefer horror, fantasy and sci-fi. Reside in Denmark. Is inspired by the stories of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Thomas Harris.

https://www.amazon.com/Nick-Clausen/e/B07NC5X94M/

My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you are looking for reviews, check here), and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novel.

I am a fan of horror, had read great reviews of one of Clausen’s collections of short stories, and I liked the sound of this one (and the cover is pretty impressive as well).

This is a short horror novella that works at many levels. Its topic is fairly well known (especially to lovers of the genre, and as a psychiatrist I’m also aware of its diagnostic implications, although I won’t elaborate on that), but despite its short length, the author manages to capture the atmosphere of the story, the cold, the darkness, the weirdness and the horror (more psychological than graphic, although it has its moments) in the few pages available, using also a pretty interesting way of telling the story. As mentioned in the description, rather than a standard narration, we have what appears to be a compilation of documents pertaining to a mysterious case, and this will appeal as well to lovers of crime stories and police procedural novels (although if they are sticklers for details, they might be bothered by the supernatural aspects and by some bits and pieces of information that don’t seem to quite fit in, but…). This peculiar way of narrating the story forces readers to do some of the work and fill in the blanks, and that is always a good strategy when it comes to horror (our imagination can come up with pretty scary things, as we all know). It also gives readers a variety of perspectives and some background that would have been trickier to include in a story of this length otherwise. Does it make it more difficult to identify with any of the characters? I didn’t find that to be the case. The story (or the evidence) starts mildly enough. An accident means that a family cannot go skiing as usual for their winter holidays, and the father decides to send his two children (and older girl, Otha, and a younger boy, Hugh) to stay with their grandfather, Fred, in Maine.  Things start getting weird from the beginning, and Otha (who has a successful blog, and whose entries create the backbone of the story, making her the main narrator and the most sympathetic and easier to identify with for readers) is not the only one who worries about her grandfather, as some of the neighbours have also been wondering about the old man’s behaviour. The secret behind their grandmother’s death becomes an important part of the story and there are eerie moments aplenty to come.

The novella manages to combine well not only some legends and traditional Native-American stories with more modern concepts like PTSD, survivor’s guilt, but also the underlying current of grief that has come to dominate the life of the children’s grandfather. It also emphasises how much we have come to rely on technology and creature comforts that give us a false sense of security and cannot protect us again extreme natural conditions and disasters. Because of the age of the main protagonist, there is also a YA feel to the story with elements of the coming-of-age genre —even a possible love interest— and I’ve seen it listed under such category, but those aspects don’t overwhelm the rest of the story, and I don’t think they would reduce the enjoyment of readers who usually avoid that genre.

Is it scary? Well, that is always a personal call. As I said, there are some chilling scenes, but the novella is not too graphic (it relies heavily on what the characters might or might not have seen or heard, and also on our own capacity for autosuggestion and suspension of disbelief). There is something about the topic, which combines a strong moral taboo with plenty of true stories going back hundreds of years, which makes it a very likely scenario and something anybody reading it cannot help what reflect upon. We might all reassure ourselves that we wouldn’t do something like that, no matter how dire the conditions, but how confident are we? For me, that is the scariest part of the story.

In sum, this is a well-written and fairly scary story, with the emphasis on atmosphere and psychological horror rather than on blood and gore (but there is some, I’m warning you), successfully combined with an interesting way of narrating a familiar story. As a straight mystery not all details tie in perfectly, but it’s a good introduction to a new voice (in English) in the horror genre. I’m sure it won’t be the last of Clausen’s stories I’ll read.

 Thanks to Rosie and the members of her team, thanks to the author, and, most of all, thanks to all of you for reading, liking, sharing, commenting, and remember to keep reviewing and smiling!

 

 

 

 

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Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog A PLAGUE OF PAGES: A HORROR STORY FROM THE DEAD BOXES ARCHIVE by John F. Leonard (@john_f_leonard) #RBRT A fun and fast horror novella.

Dear all:

You might all have experienced the feeling that sometimes the stars align and everything comes together (yes, even when the results might be less than stellar). I had already agreed to read and review this novella when my friend and blogger extraordinaire Beetley Pete (he blogs about everything, from photography, his dog, his years as a paramedic, to book and film reviews), started sharing one of his serials, called, The Old RemingtonLet’s say that there are a few coincidences between the two story lines, although Pete’s is not a horror story, but… Anyway, go and check it out. Here is his story in full:

The Old Remington: The Complete Story

And now, I have another novella in the same collection and by an author a few of you will remember…

A Plague of Pages by John F Leonard
A Plague of Pages by John F Leonard

A Plague of Pages: A Horror Story from the Dead Boxes Archive by John F Leonard There is always a price to pay. A fun and fast horror novella.

Ah, the perils of writing …it can bring out the worst in you.
Anthony’s world has fallen apart. The good times have gone, the things he treasures have been torn away. Life in tatters, he needs to press the reset button and begin again. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
He’s going to pursue his dream of becoming a writer.
Trouble is, some dreams turn into nightmares.

Beautiful wife, successful business, plenty of cash. He had the lot. Until he didn’t have very much at all. It’s taken a while, but Anthony has finally discovered life is full of bastards and betrayal. Weary and washed out, a change of direction is just what the doctor ordered.
He wants to be a horror writer.
Write, and in the writing, redefine himself.
And again, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. He’s about to discover real horrors. The like of which are beyond comprehension. He could well get lost in his own stories.
Because some stories aren’t right. They aren’t just make-believe ink marks on a page.
There are worse things in the world than a little double-dealing and deceit. There are things that defy description and beggar the mind. Things that sit outside the walls of reality and scratch at the mortar between the bricks.
Sometimes they find a crack and worm their way through.

A PLAGUE OF PAGES is a tale of dangerous words and weird objects. The darkness of the human heart and a greater darkness that swims below the surface of what we happily call normal.
Occasionally the darkness pops up and swallows people whole.
It’s a cocktail of everyday evil and cosmic horror that will linger long after the last page is turned.
Maybe it will make you reconsider those unfulfilled ambitions, the stuff you always wanted to do and somehow never got round to. Like letting loose the frustrated writer inside you.
It might make you think twice about the items that slip under the radar. Those neglected trinkets stashed and forgotten in the loft or hidden away in dusty drawers.
Perhaps, only a possibility mind, it might make you wonder at the twisted symmetry we pass off as coincidence. The terrible, seemingly inexplicable events we dismiss as happenstance …and the thin dividing line between fact and fiction.

A Plague of Pages is an old school horror story, part of a series of sinister tales from the Dead Boxes Archive.
Some objects are inherently bad. No rhyme or reason, they’re just imbued with something that defines them as wrong. Inanimate and yet seething with dark, horrible energy. Bad to the bone baby. Bad to the bone.
Dead Boxes definitely fall into that category. Easy to miss. They don’t jump out at you. Not right away.
If you look a little closer, you’ll see something unique. You could have one and not know it.
Approach with caution.
They hold miracle and mystery. Horror and salvation.
None are the same. Except in one regard.
You don’t need one. You might think you do, but you really don’t.
Believe me.

A Horror Story
From the Dead Boxes Archive.

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Plague-Pages-Horror-Story-Archive-ebook/dp/B07N7MPMGN/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Plague-Pages-Horror-Story-Archive-ebook/dp/B07N7MPMGN/

Author John F Leonard
Author John F Leonard

About the author:

John was born in England and grew up in the industrial Midlands, where he learned to love the sound of scrapyard dogs and the rattle and clank of passing trains.

He studied English, Art and History and has, at different times, been a sculptor, odd-job man and office worker. He enjoys horror and comedy (not necessarily together).

He has published six books. A Plague of Pages, Bad Pennies, Doggem, Call Drops, Collapse and 4 Hours, and is currently working on a number of projects which include more tales from the Dead Boxes Archive and the Scaeth Mythos, and new stories set in the ever evolving, post-apocalyptic world of Collapse.

https://www.amazon.com/John-F-Leonard/e/B01BHUE6Z6/

My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you are looking for reviews, check here), and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novella.

I recently read another one of Leonard’s stories from the Dead Boxes Archive, Call Drops (you can find my review here), thoroughly enjoyed it, and could not resist reading another one in the collection.

Much of what I said about the previous story applies to this one. Yes, if you love the Friday the 13th series, The Conjuring, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, you’re likely to enjoy this. But, this is horror, and this story, more than the previous one, goes into fairly gore detail.

I won’t spend too long rehashing the plot of the story, because if you’ve read the author’s description you already know what is about. Anthony is a man who’s lost everything (well, not quite everything, as it turns out), and decides to try his hand at writing. Well, we’ve all been there (not perhaps having lost everything, but thinking about becoming a writer). That he decides to go old school and use pen and paper is more surprising, but his father dealt in antiques, and he has an interesting heirloom to put to good use. Or bad. Of course, things take a turn for the weird soon enough.

The story is told in the third person, mostly from Anthony’s point of view, although, interspersed in the novella are some chapters that follow the investigation into a very strange streak of crimes. In fact, the book starts with one of the most bizarre crime scenes I’ve come across (and yes, I read a lot of thrillers, so that’s saying something). A word of warning: if you are of a sensitive nature, especially when it comes to libraries and librarians, you should look away. But don’t worry. I won’t describe it. Those chapters of the story, told from the point of view of Detective Sergeant Shadwell, Adi, read like a standard thriller, with the case-worn detective, the less than politically-correct policeman, the uninterested boss, and will probably feel familiar to those who read in that genre. Adi is a likeable character and shows a good deal of patience and resilience, but we don’t get to know him too well. This is a novella, after all, and most of it is taken up by Anthony’s events. You’ll probably suspect that the two seemingly separate parts of the story are interconnected in some way or other, even though the first chapter is set up “After the Handfield Tragedy” (yes, foreshadowing or what?) , and then we go back several months to get to the main action of the book. After that opening, we take up the story of Anthony, which starts innocuously enough, like many other stories you might have read about people who’ve lost everything and quickly fall into a hole, unable to find a way of slowing their downward spiral. But there is the pen, and strange things start happening quickly.

Although the story and the cards he has been dealt might make Anthony sound sympathetic, and he experiences things that would have made anybody feel unhinged, this feeling, at least for me, did not last long. Yes, he protested and claimed to be shocked for what he might have unwittingly caused, but it soon became evident that he showed no true empathy for anybody he met, and he was more preoccupied for himself and his own safety than for that of others. He seems to always think in clichés, platitudes, popular and old sayings, and proverbs, as if he did not have a single original thought in his head, and when we hear from his father, it seems that this is a family trait. As was the case in the previous story, it seems that the objects belonging to the Dead Boxes choose their owners well, indeed, and seem able to dig deep into the characters’ psyche and uncover less than flattering characteristics.

I enjoyed the story, although as was the case with the previous one, I wouldn’t recommend it to people who don’t enjoy horror or graphic violence. It is not a story likely to make you jump, but it builds up pace, and the events get more horrific as you read on (well, after the shocking start). The interim chapters from the point of view of the investigator (also written in the third person) give the reader a bit of a break, a touch of normalcy, although due to the nature of the crimes, this is relative.

I felt this novella is more likely to satisfy readers who like a sense of closure and explanation than Call Drops. We get more information about the item itself, and there are hints at the full mythos behind the Dead Boxes, which grabbed my attention.  And the ending… Well, readers have known from the beginning that something big was coming, but not necessarily what. Yes, it worked for me.

Because this is a short novella, I don’t want to share too many quotes from it because it would make it difficult not to give away too many spoilers, but I thought I’d close with this short one, which for me encapsulates a warning we should all pay attention to:

There was always a cost. That was how everything worked. Supernatural or humdrum day to day. It was all the same. You could get some goodies so long as you were willing to pay.

Leonard delivers again. I look forward to more stories from the Dead Boxes Archive.

Thanks to the author, to Rosie and all her team, thanks to you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review and always keep smiling!

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Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview BROKEN SHELLS: A Subterranean Horror Novella by Michael Patrick Hicks (@MikeH5856) Gore descriptions, mind-blowing action in a claustrophobic setting with nightmarish creatures. What else could we ask for? #horror

Hi all:

Today I bring you a novella for those who like to be scared and don’t mind creepy-crawlies.

Book review. Broken Shells
Borken Shells by Michael Patrick Hicks

Broken Shells: A Subterranean Horror Novella by Michael Patrick Hicks

Antoine DeWitt is a man down on his luck. Broke and recently fired, he knows the winning Money Carlo ticket that has landed in his mailbox from a car dealership is nothing more than a scam. The promise of five thousand dollars, though, is too tantalizing to ignore.

Jon Dangle is a keeper of secrets, many of which are buried deep beneath his dealership. He works hard to keep them hidden, but occasionally sacrifices are required, sacrifices who are penniless, desperate, and who will not be missed. Sacrifices exactly like DeWitt.

When Antoine steps foot on Dangle’s car lot, it is with the hope of easy money. Instead, he finds himself trapped in a deep, dark hole, buried alive. If he is going to survive the nightmare ahead of him, if he has any chance of seeing his wife and child again, Antoine will have to do more than merely hope. He will have to fight his way back to the surface, and pray that Jon Dangle’s secrets do not kill him first.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Shells-Subterranean-Horror-Novella-ebook/dp/B079KGQWNV/

https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Shells-Subterranean-Horror-Novella-ebook/dp/B079KGQWNV/

Author Michael Patrick Hicks

About the author:

MICHAEL PATRICK HICKS is the author of a number of speculative fiction titles. His debut novel, Convergence, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. His most recent work is the horror novel, Mass Hysteria.

He has written for the Audiobook Reviewer and Graphic Novel Reporter websites, in addition to working as a freelance journalist and news photographer.

In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

To stay up to date on his latest releases, join his newsletter, memFeed: http://bit.ly/1H8slIg

Website: http://www.michaelpatrickhicks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelpatrickhicks

Twitter: @MikeH5856

https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Patrick-Hicks/e/B00ILI4XLK/

My review:

I obtained a copy of this novella through a giveaway and I freely chose to review it.

Despite my fondness for the horror genre, I review other types of novels more, like thrillers (on occasions there can be a certain crossover between the two), but I hope to remedy this in the future.

I had never read any Michael Patrick Hick’s works before, but I truly enjoyed my first experience of his writing, and I’m sure it won’t be my last.

It is not easy to combine solid, convincing characters and page-turning action that flows well in a short format, but the author manages to do precisely that and his writing is excellent. He has a good eye for detail and his descriptions bring to life the settings and the creatures (sorry to be so cryptic, but I’m trying not to spoil the fun for future readers), without slowing the pace.

The story is narrated in the third-person, from several characters’ points-of-view (mostly Antoine De Witt and Jon Dangle), and the two main characters have very distinct voices and personalities. The author manages to make Antoine an interesting and sympathetic character in the short time we spend with him. He is one of those characters who wake up on the wrong side of the bed and things go from bad to worse. He is a very atypical example of the reluctant hero. He is far from flawless and can be mean at times but I think most readers will find it easy to root for him. The author offers us less information about the rest of the characters but the few details we get help us gain some understanding of their situation and their reasoning, however much we might disagree with them or dislike them. As for the creatures… I’ll leave you to read the story, but I warn anybody who does not like bugs, as you will suffer if you read it.

There is plenty of detailed gore and graphic violence and there is an intense sense of claustrophobia that adds to the horror in some moments of the story. This is not subtle psychological horror but rather punch-in-the-gut scares and an almost physiological sharing of the feelings and sensations of the protagonists. While in the past I have recommended some books that fall within the horror genre to the general public, this novella is not for everybody, but it is perfect for lovers of monsters and creature horrors who don’t mind plenty of creepy details. And it comes with the bonus of fabulous writing and serious social and moral themes that elevate it beyond poor entertainment. Just a word about the ending; It was not totally unexpected, but it was extremely well done and I loved it.

I hope to read more of this author’s work in the future and I encourage other lovers of the horror genre to give him a try. You’re in for a treat.

Thanks to the publisher for the novella, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and keep smiling!

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book promo FREE Giveaway

#FREE epistolary novel 5-7th November LETTER TO CHARO by Estrella Cardona Gamio (@EstrellaCG) Straight to the heart #amreading

Hi all:

You might remember a few weeks back I talked to you about the latest book I’d translated that had been just published, Letter to Charo, a novella I fell in love with when I read it and I was lucky enough that the author asked me to translate it. Now, the author and her sister, Concha, are celebrating the 17th anniversary of their publishing company CCG Ediciones being live on-line, and as part of the celebrations, Letter to Charo will be free from the 5th to the 7th of November inclusive. As there was a fair amount of interest in it when I first dedicated it a post (see here, as I share the translated review of the novella I wrote for the Spanish version) I couldn’t help but share it with you. Here is a reminder:

Letter to Charo by Estrella Cardona Gamio. Translation by Olga Núñez Miret
Letter to Charo by Estrella Cardona Gamio. Translation by Olga Núñez Miret

Letter to Charo by Estrella Cardona Gamio 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

LETTER TO CHARO is not a novel like all the rest in its presentation. For starters, it is an epistolary novel, a genre that was fashionable in other eras and that has left us works like DANGEROUS LIAISONS to mention a particularly fine example. It’s a very interesting genre because through its structure, and in the first-person, intimate stories are narrated that slowly reveal the most closely guarded secrets of its characters.
In LETTER TO CHARO, the reader will find the story of two friends who’ve known each other from childhood and carried on being friends through the years and the distance when the husband of one of them, for work reasons, has to move to London with his family. Throughout the years they exchange letters, until a certain day when an event that has nothing to do with either of them, the death of a famous Italian cinema actor, Marcello Mastroianni, sends them on a trip down memory lane unearthing confidences that had been hiding for decades and discovering two people who are complete strangers to each other.
Another peculiar characteristic of this novel is that the letters that are exchanged between the protagonists open with one dated the same day when I first started writing LETTER TO CHARO, and, the intervals between the letters are authentic. The truth is that I wrote the novel as if its protagonists were dictating it to me.
In this work, romantic and sentimental, you’ll find various degrees of love revealed in detail: tenderness, nostalgia, rivalry, egotism, envy, jealousy and uncontrollable and wild passion. You should not miss it, follow my advice.

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE

I have tried to respect the style of the author and the sense of urgency and closeness of the correspondence written to (mostly) those close to us, which follows the style of our speech and the wanders of our mind, rather than grammar rules or best-practice when writing formal texts. I have adapted casual expressions but have always tried to maintain the meaning and the spirit of the original.
With regards to titles of books and/or movies mentioned in the book, I’ve adopted the ones more commonly used, although sometimes different editions or movies in different countries might be known by different titles. I have added only a few parenthetical notes where I felt that the general reading public might not be familiar with the term and it is fundamental to follow the gist of the story.
I am very grateful to the author and to her sister for giving me the opportunity to translate this short novel that I fell in love with as a reader.

Link:

http://relinks.me/B01LY90NED

Thanks to the author and her sister for the novel and for keeping me informed, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment and CLICK! It’s FREE!

Categories
Audiobooks

New #audiobook Click Me Happy! A romantic novella with three endings now narrated by Afton Laidy Jordan

Hi all:

As I’ve been telling you, as much as we love reading and seem to spend most of our days doing it, there’s also a current move towards making the most of our time by listening to things whilst we are busy driving, walking, running, exercising, doing chores… anything that isn’t too mentally demanding. There are podcasts, of course good old and new radio, and audiobooks.

Another one of my novels is now available as an audiobook (I have a few more on the making but it’s a bit of a laborious process).

Click Me Happy! Audiobook. Narrated by Afton Laidy Jordan
Click Me Happy! Audiobook. Narrated by Afton Laidy Jordan

Afton Laidy Jordan, who’s also narrated Twin Evils? decided to try my experimental romantic novella, where I decided to give the readers the option to choose between three endings.She gives the novella the fun and quirkiness it deserves. In case you don’t remember it or you joined me after its publication, here I give you Click Me Happy! A Romantic Novella with Three Endings
Lilith, the protagonist, does not believe in all that ‘romantic nonsense’. When her boss and friend, Debbie, asks her to create a digital books section for the library where they both work, she triggers a series of events that shake all of Lilith’s strongly held beliefs.

Her dislike for social networking is put to the test and despite her love for privacy and technological naïveté she manages to make a number of virtual connections. The most interesting one, without a question, is Zane, a talented and attractive author and painter. Their friendship quickly develops into something else. But, what exactly? Lilith doesn’t have a clue.

A bet with Rowena, her childhood best-friend, offers her an opportunity to test her feelings for Zane and their relationship, and a meeting, ‘real’ this time, is organised in the gorgeous setting of Bermuda.

At that point, you, the reader, have the choice. Do you want the story to end up happy ever after? Do you think there’s no chance for them? Or maybe you believe that there has to be more to life than romantic stories and a neutral ending or new beginning is more true to life? There are three endings for you to pick from. See what you think!

AUDIBLE.COM      AUDIBLE.CO.UK       AMAZON.COM        AMAZON.CO.UK     APPLE (iTunes)

If you’ve never bought any audiobooks from Audible, you must check this great opportunity to get the audio for free.

You can listen to a sample in Soundcloud:

Or if you prefer, you can watch and listen to a video in You Tube.

I’m waiting for the Audible free codes, but let me know if you might be interested in one and I’ll keep you posted as soon as I get them. (Ah, and don’t worry if you can’t resist the curiosity. Most of the readers go ahead and read the three endings;)

Thanks for reading, watching and listening, thanks to Afton for her fantastic work, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Categories
Book reviews

#Bookreview for #RBRT Planting the Seeds of Love. A Novella by N.N. Light (@NNP_W_Light) It will make you smile

Hi all:

As you know, as I’m publishing the prequel to my book Escaping Psychiatry on Tuesdays, I’m trying to catch up on Fridays and combine my usual new books and authors feature with reviews. Today I bring you a review I did for Rosie’s Book Review Team. I hope you enjoy it!

Planting the Seeds of Love by NNLight
Planting the Seeds of Love by N.N. Light

I’m reviewing this novella as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I was offered a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This romantic novella (with no erotica) centres on a young woman, Sally. When her grandfather dies she goes back to his farm that she’d left to study in the city. His death and his testament turn her ordered life upside down. She has a boyfriend in the city, Trevor, and she plans to have a coffee shop back there. But in his will her grandfather asks her to look after the farm and to do it with the help of her childhood friend, Jack. They used to play together as children, and he was the knight in shining armour to her beautiful princess. The farm is in financial difficulties, but those can’t compare to the troubles of the heart Sally gets into. Ultimately she must decide if she wants to stay in the farm (now turned into a brewery) with Jack, or go back to the city with Trevor.

This is an easy read, with likeable characters. There are no major complexities and although the two male characters confront each other, there is no big drama or real tragedies on the way, although there are mishaps and worries. Most of the difficulties Sally experiences are down to her heart and her lack of clarity about her true feelings. The author is good at capturing the nuances of the emotions and the subjective state of mind of the main character whilst avoiding explicit scenes. She is also particularly skilled at creating romantic scenes, without going into too much description or detail, allowing the readers to use their own imagination and put themselves in the characters’ place.

Planting the Seeds of Love will make you smile and it’s the perfect read for when you want something short, sweet and not taxing. The perfect break from a heavy day; it will lift your spirits.

Links:

http://amzn.to/1JAGsMX

http://amzn.to/1JAGsMZ

Don’t forget to visit the page of the author and follow here for news about her work:

http://amzn.to/1JAGsN1

If you feel curious, check this preview:

Thanks so much to N.N. Light for her novella, thanks to Rosie for organising the review team, and thanks to all of you for reading. And don’t forget to like, share, comment and CLICK!

Categories
Reviews

Two Reviews. Kirstin Pulioff's 'The Ivory Tower' and P.J. LaRue 'After "I Do!" A Marriage Map'

Hi all:

As you know, apart from a writer, I’m also a reader and when I have time, I read. I’ve been reading many indie books of recent and being a writer I know how important it is for writers to get reviews for their books. I also try and share them here and see if people who might have missed them find the books interesting.

Today I bring you two short and very different reads. One is a distopian YA novella and the other one a non-fiction book about relationships.

The Ivory Tower
The Ivory Tower

Review of Kirstin Pulioff’s ‘The Ivory Tower’

A sharp, shiny and precise jewel of a dystopian novella.

I read The Ivory Tower very quickly some time ago and have finally managed to catch up with a review. This dystopian story is brief but hides a good punch. I’m always in two minds with regards to shorter stories. On the one hand I want to know more, but on the other hand, the best of them are like perfect jewels, nicely shaped, shiny and precise. Sharp with no rounded edges. I suspect some of that precision and the effect might be lost if they were longer.

The Ivory Tower is one of those stories. The reader is given some details but not the full story behind the situation or the reasons why the characters live as they do. And that makes you think and imagine. It also works because when the main character finds herself in a situation that she cannot quite understand, you are in her shoes and as astounded as her by what happens. The sense of menace and threat increases as one reads and the writing helps create an atmospheric and intriguing tale. Although there are no unduly lengthy descriptions, the reader knows where s/he is. And the ending…

If you only have a little time and want a good story (not a feel good story, though) go and grab The Ivory Tower, quick!

http://www.amazon.com/Ivory-Tower-Kirstin-Pulioff-ebook/dp/B00FJ3A58A/

After "I Do!" A Marriage Map
After “I Do!” A Marriage Map

After “I Do!” A Marriage Map by P.J. LaRue Common sense advice about relationships, from the heart.

Before I write the review I must confess something. I’m not married and I’m not in a relationship at the moment. I’m not sure if that qualifies me more or disqualifies me completely from writing this review, but I’ve already warned you. If you want to read on, it’s up to you.

Having said all that, I have to confess I loved the book. Like all advice, one can take it or leave it. And Oscar Wilde already told us that the thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. That one should never use it oneself. I don’t agree although understand the sentiment.

P.J. LaRue explains her reasons for writing the book. She is aware of the statistics on the survival of relationships and observes that although her marriage seemed to have many numbers for not working, it has (so far for over thirty years). As people kept asking her and her husband for the recipe, that got her thinking, and as she is a writer, she thought she’d write a book about it.

The author’s advice is common sense, but not for that less valuable. She reflects on what she calls ‘Starter Marriages’ and observes that if there is no true commitment to a relationship from the beginning you might as well not even bother. If you’re going to give up at the first hurdle, don’t get in the race. She also emphasises the importance of communication, true communication, and she highlights the elements she thinks are necessary for such communication to exist: honesty, be open, listen, never trash talk, don’t play games, whisper sweet nothings, choose your words carefully, change requires self-awareness, change takes effort, compromise, tone, body language, golden rule and R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Other than ‘whisper sweet nothings’ I’d say they are very good principles to follow in any communication, but even more important when the communication is with your loved one.

If the advice is sound, as I say, what I found more touching (and it is a touching book) was how the author uses her own relationship as a yardstick and example of both the things to do and the possible pitfalls, the type of problems that relationships experience. She is candid and honest when talking about her personal difficulties and the trials that they have had to go through (and they’re still coming to terms with).

It might be that some of the ideas exposed in the book (yes, I’m talking about her stance on sex in relationships) might sound old-fashioned, and she herself acknowledges that, but just because something is old or has been said before it doesn’t mean it is wrong. You can always decide what parts of the advice you think should apply to you, but if you can be as selfless and insightful as the author is after you read it, I guarantee you will have a much better chance at making your relationship work.

http://www.amazon.com/After-Do-Marriage-Map-LaRue-ebook/dp/B00LIGL9FK/

By the way, very recently I’ve joined the BTS-e Magazine team of reviewers (I’ll let you know when my reviews come up and give you a link to the magazine), so I leave you links to it for you to check and explore.

Thanks so much for reading, and you know, if  you’ve found it interesting, like, share, comment and of course CLICK! Ah, and if read any books and enjoy them, remember to review and recommend them to your friends!

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