Book Review – Jonah by Jan Sikes

Do you have a few minutes to spare and fancy a quick read? Well that’s what I did last night and this time it was Jonah by Jan Sikes

JonahBlurb:  Fantasy meets reality when a young man is forced to choose his punishment for crimes committed. Jonah must decide between imprisonment in a concrete box beneath the earth or be exiled to a deserted, barren island. He chooses the island, but nothing can prepare him for the deadly creatures, and poisonous plants at every turn. Then there’s the maddening isolation that drives him to the brink of insanity. There is only one way off this island and it’s more difficult than anything he’s ever imagined. It’s much easier to face mortal danger than the demons within. Will he find redemption, or another unexpected offer?

Rating:  3/5

My thoughts: I loved the idea of this story, a convict exiled to a deserted island, well deserted apart from the vicious creatures which constantly threaten his life.  A strange delivery of books lead Jonah on a journey of self discovery which will ultimately lead him to more discoveries than he could ever have imagined.

While I enjoyed this story, and it was very well written, it also felt a little lacking to me. I think it is such a good concept of a story line that it would have worked much better as a full novel. I would loved to have heard more about the life that lead Jonah to be on that island, and I would have enjoyed seeing his friendship grow more slowly to really convince me of his choices at the end. I would also love to know “what happens next”.

To me this felt more like an early working which would benefit from a lot of fleshing out to fully round it into an amazing tale.

Book Review – The Road to Zoe

The sun is high and bright in the sky, a glorious golden globe shining down from an unspoiled perfect blue sky. Small birds are singing and swooping, almost dancing in the sunshine. And some of the largest bumblebees I have seen are buzzing around, showing off their fluffy striped jumpers as they skip from flower to flower.

If you didn’t know better you would think that all is well with the world. I look forward to a time when that is true 🙂

In the meantime, I find the best use of this beautiful day was to finish reading a wonderful book. This book was The Road to Zoe by Nick Alexander

Blurb: She ran away from the truth, but she can’t run forever.

zoeSeven years after his sister vanished without a trace, Jude is on the road, determined not to return home until he has found her. He wants to reunite his broken family, but more than this he wants to know why Zoe left—what happened when they were kids, on that terrible day when everything fell apart.

They’d been enjoying the funfair—grasping a rare moment of happiness following their parents’ divorce—when after a ride together, Zoe had stopped speaking to her mother’s new partner. Though Mandy believed he was the man she’d waited all her life for, her love for her daughter trumped even that, and soon suspicions of an unthinkable betrayal shattered the family.

So finding Zoe would be just the start. If Jude can find her, then what happens next will depend on the story she’s been carrying with her all these years. Because when families are destroyed by dark secrets, can the wounds ever truly heal?

Rating:  5/5

My thoughts:  Another beautifully crafted story, perfectly illustrating the feelings, fears, and hopes of a family torn apart when 16 year old Zoe disappears.

Nick introduces us to a family in turmoil as young Zoe’s behaviour begins to spiral, seemingly for no reason. But of course there is a reason… if only they can find out what it is.

Told in parallel timelines we also join a grown up Jude and his girlfriend as they travel from town to town determined to track Zoe down and finally find out what drove her from the family home so many years earlier.

The characters are, as always with Nick’s writing, real and relatable and I found myself emotionally invested in Jude’s quest – hoping that he would be successful, and that we would all find the answers he needs. I may have even shed a tear or two as we got to the end.

Another triumph 🙂

 

… and breathe

The world has gone a little crazy hasn’t it. Who knew, as we ushered in a new year just a few short months ago, that this is what we had to look forward to.

Who knew that there would come a time when we are actively told to stay home, to not work, to not even leave our own houses unless we really need to. Who knew that something as small as a virus would bring the world to a halt and fill us all with a level of fear we never expected.

Grandparents can no longer have visits from their grandchildren, children cannot visit their parents, friends remember fondly meeting up with friends.

But at the same time, we are lucky in ways that we have never been before.

At no other time in history could we still see each other, still talk and be together, as if we were in the same room. Technology is allowing those isolated from the world to still reach out and make contact with those they love.

In this terrible time it is easy to let fear take hold of us, to worry for ourselves and for those we love, to imagine the worst and not be able to hope for the best.

We can get so consumed with surviving that we forget to live.

breathe

So just stop. Take a breath. Look up at the bright blue sky and notice how much bluer it is without the streaks of white from countless planes. Breathe deeply and notice the scent of spring flowers on the warm breeze. Listen to the song of the birds and the buzzing of the bees.

Life is hard right now. It is frightening. It is worrying. But it is not going to be like this forever. Hold on to whatever faith you may have. Hold on to the love you share with family and friends. Hold on to the knowledge that this too will pass.

And breathe. Just breathe.

Book Review – A Candle in the Darkness

In these troubled times sometimes it’s nice to escape – and a good read is the perfect way to help you forget your worries for a while.

Last night I read “A Candle in the Darkness” by Karen Black

CandleBlurb: Is there life after death? Not according to Valerie. Following the accidental death of her husband, Randy, she Valerie was distraught. With her mother-in-law saying repeatedly that Randy was still with her, Valerie’s grief was amplified. Randy, had been the center of her life, and now he was gone. He was not with her. He died and was buried in a casket in the ground.
In spite of severe storm warnings, and against her in-laws’ advice, Valerie set out for Maryland, where she and Randy had been planning to live. It took a tornado, and the words of a stranger to show Valerie exactly how to move on without Randy; or was it with him?

Rating:  3/5

My thoughts: Valerie doesn’t believe in a life after death. When you’re gone you’re gone, and that is what her husband is. Gone. Taking shelter from a tornado in the cellar of a motel Valerie will learn things she never expected.

A well written short, that is easy to read. Unfortunately I felt a little dissatisfied by the time I got to the end. I found the climax of the story predictable, I had assumed this was where it was going very early into the story. I think I could have forgiven that in a longer read, if I had been given time to really grow to know the characters and their lives. A nice story but missing any wow factor.

Strange Days Indeed

I don’t often post here on non-writing related matters but sometimes you do just have things in your head that need getting out.

What a time we are living in right now – sadly that phrase is often said in relation to wonderful situations, that is certainly not what we are living through.

I always figured that shows like The Walking Dead (which I love BTW) showed a rather negative view of human nature. Here comes a crisis and the human race turns to an “every man for himself” situation, fighting each other than the disaster (or zombies) that are threatening them.

Now, while people aren’t actually killing each other on the streets, there is definitely an unwelcome shift to selfishness.  I don’t recall ever seeing such empty supermarket shelves as people stock up their own supplies, with no thought for those who are unable to do the same and, as a result, will end up going without. No one should be left without access to something as simple as toilet paper!! (Or food of course).

I would like to think that, when the panic fades, all those random tins of soup that people bought, even if they don’t like the variety, will find their way to charities, food banks, or soup kitchens… but my faith in human nature is lacking a little right now.

This time of uncertainty is leaving us all feeling a little lost and unsure of what to do, we can only hope that “this too will pass”… and in time the world can get back on track.

In the meantime stay safe, but stay kind.

 

 

#RRBC_Community – Where Authors Shine

Happy New Year, followers!  
 
I’d like to invite you to visit the ALL-NEW RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB at our new location > RaveReviewsBookClub.wordpress.com.
 
-If you are an author looking for amazing support, #RRBC is the place for you! 
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Book Review – One Dyke Cozy by Rhani D’Chae #RRBC

Happy New Year to everyone out there and welcome to my first review of the year… and this is it:

One Dyke Cozy by Rhani D’Chae

cozyBlurb: People come into our lives for a day, a season, or a reason…
“Shy taught me to fight like a champion, love like a poet, & live like it was my last day on earth.”

One Dyke Cozy touches on the lives of two girls, Gabby and Shy, from their first meeting as children to Shy’s untimely death.

This novel contains profanity and adult situations.

Rating:  4/5

My Thoughts: A short but enjoyable read showing us the friendship between two girls, from the moment they meet at 8 years old, until Shy dies, far too young. The two lead characters are certainly very different but you can see how they bring out the best in each other and Gabby becomes the best woman she can be after she meets the tomboy and confident Shy.  Mr Happy is a third party in the relationship and, despite being an inanimate object, becomes very important to the two girls.

A good book if you a looking for something easy to read, uplifting and enjoyable.

Book Review – Zombie Dawn #RRBC

So the joy that is Nanowrimo is upon us once again and as such there isn’t really the time to indulge in a big read – this is when short stories can fill the bill. Last night I read:

Zombie Dawn by Rhani D’Chae

And this is what I thought…

zombieBlurb:  In the late hours of a warm summer night, the residents of a quiet little street find that things are not so quiet, after all.

Rating: 5/5

My thoughts: For a short read this story certainly packs in a lot of action. In around an hour (for the reader) a nice quiet street turns into a nightmare as one by one residents fall prey to the zombie curse.  I enjoyed how the different characters discovered what was going on – and how each encounter with a zombie is different. A fun read – as long as you enjoy a good zombie tale.