|Posted by Alana on November 30, 2013 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Alana on November 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
Have you ever wondered about The Big Bang? What it was, how it happened? Wonder no more. Instead, follow the characters in this huge-in-scope novel as they set about re-creating it. Do they succeed? Oh yes. And how. With the help of an infinitely talented and intelligent computer named Jim they build their own little universe within the confines of a purpose-built building and then proceed to tweak, play and interact with planetary inhabitants to suit their own purposes.
The investors see only the mind-blowing profits that can be made from exploiting technology from more-advanced planets than their own, and they conflict with venture partners who want to observe and learn from one particular planet whose inhabitants are in tune with the entire universe.
This novel is an exploration of creation, the existence of a creator, spirituality, reincarnation and much much more. Matthews exhibits an expertly deft touch as he explores what are obviously to him important subjects. By novel’s end I found myself in a contemplative mood as I pondered the ideas he raised.
A lot of the story involves a voyeuristic slant as the protagonists watch what’s happening on the planets that interest them and my interest level dipped as this felt like surface-skimming. My interest lay in the meditation interactions with the Thetans and how the project changes the lives of the protagonists.
The story has a definite beginning and ending and about three quarters of the way in there’s a jolt that completely alters the reader’s perception of everything. That was clever and had me smiling.
This is the first in a two-book series, the second being JIM’S LIFE which I unknowingly read last year. While it’s not imperative to read them in order I wish I had because, even though I loved JIM’S LIFE and gave it five stars, it would have been advantageous to have the background of THE LITTLE UNIVERSE to draw upon.
This is a well-written, well-told story with characters I felt I knew by the time I finished.
Take this link to my interview with Jason Matthews
|Posted by Alana on November 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Diana Crawford had fled her family home, Aces Corral ranch just outside Calgary in Canada, two years ago to escape a family tragedy. HOME TO STAY opens as she returns home to pick up the pieces, knowing she will never leave again. The homecoming proves to be an emotional rollercoaster ride for her. Her nearest neighbours, Len and Dot Mackenzie, close to her in both proximity and love have had a tough time while she’s been away and now rely on their nephew, Barry Daniels, to do much of the work around the place. And, yes, Barry’s the gorgeous hunk who keeps Diana guessing almost until the last page in this light western romance.
There isn’t much in the way of plot and you know things are going to work out well but the will-they/won’t-they tension is handled well and maintained.
Depth to the story is added in two ways: first by the descriptions of a working horse ranch. The author seems to be in familiar territory here and it adds interest to what could otherwise have been a trite love story. Then there is Barry’s mysterious business dealings which keep him busy on the phone and internet and which he won’t discuss with Diana. Together they help to flesh the story out.
The sex is pretty detailed but fortunately, at least as far as my reading pleasure is concerned, it doesn’t go any further than the foreplay before the bedroom door is metaphorically shut.
I had a bit of trouble believing some of the dialogue, in particular the way Barry speaks to Diana. I tend to think that the love talk that is attributed to male characters in many books is what women wish their man would say to them when in actual fact no man would be caught dead uttering such stuff. But it’s not too unbelievable and that’s just a small criticism.
HOME TO STAY is a nice story satisfactorily told. The language is descriptive and I had no trouble picturing the location and scenery, all of which sounds superb.
Take this link to my interview with June McCullough
|Posted by Alana on November 2, 2013 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
I was some way into this book, THE CRONE CLUB, before starting to think the story had more depth than I originally thought. I was thinking, ‘Stereotypical characterisation, lack of subtlety, no spark’ but it slowly became more than that and I found myself enjoying it.
The story begins with a class reunion, the gang now women of that magic age, 60—making them Boomers. Many haven’t met again since leaving school and they’re all interested in what each has accomplished in life. There are the porn star twins, the rich, the bitch, the professionals, the housewife, the widow and ... the missing. They form The Crone Club and set each other two tasks: a dream to realise and a challenge to accomplish.
The book deals with rape and how attitudes have changed over the years. There’s also controlling husbands, cancer, charity and third world hunger—some very big issues. They receive surface treatment only, no in-depth discussion, but then I don’t think that’s what the author was intending. It’s about mature people overcoming obstacles—yes, just because you’re 60 it doesn’t mean you’ve got it all figured out—and written in such a way that you don’t think of the morals being presented.
Bambi is the fairy godmother who takes everyone in, pays their bills and looks after them, which is very convenient for allowing characters to not find themselves in true-to-life no-way-out situations.
Essentially it’s about women enjoying themselves and empowering each other.
Are they successful? Finding out makes for a light read encompassing comedy, poignancy and drama as you follow each character’s path while they pursue their goals.
I believe it’s the first in a series, so we’ll be able to follow the Crone Club’s development.
I was unable to contact the author for an accompanying interview.
|Posted by Alana on October 19, 2013 at 5:10 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Alana on October 12, 2013 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
This is an autobiography of a different kind. The author tells her story in a series of flashbacks that she describes as lessons she has learned along the way, from early childhood to present time.
Immediately I began reading I found the language to be stilted, until I realised that English is her second language. Then suddenly in my head I heard her words in the voice of a Dutch friend who speaks the same way. After that I found the mistakes and the often formal style very charming.
Autobiographies and memoirs amaze me. It astounds me how much people can recall. I certainly can’t remember details and conversations from years ago, especially from when I was a youngster. So when I read a good one, such as this is, I’m fascinated.
Hausmann was born and grew up in Austria, moving to the US as an adult. From an early age she had wanderlust and began travelling in her teens to such wild and exotic locations as Russia, Kashmir and China in the days when it required major logistical organisation. She lived frugally with the purpose of travelling, saving as much as she could from the diverse and sometimes fascinating spheres she worked in, such as the film industry.
The enthusiasm and effort she puts into everything—travel, work, family—shines out. She believes in putting everything of yourself into everything you do and has applied that to herself along the way.
As I said, the book is told in the form of life lessons and she finishes each story with an afterthought and what the lesson has taught her.
Honesty shines out of these stories, sometimes intimate, sometimes humorous, always inspiring. She’s had it tough, losing her husband in an accident and her brother to illness. What you finish the book thinking is that this is one of life’s indomitables.
The drawback to reading this on my Kindle was that it didn’t do full justice to the photos. The scenic shots in particular are probably magnificent in full size and colour.
An inspiring read. If it doesn’t instantly energise or re-energise you to conquer your own mountains then perhaps we haven’t read the same book!
NAKED DETERMINATION on all ebook vendors
Take this link to my interview with Gisela.
|Posted by Alana on October 5, 2013 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
LIFE WITHOUT starts with a sex scene. I thought “Hello, is this what the book’s about?” It isn’t. The scene acts as an indicator of where the main character, Stephen (Steve) Goodman is in his life at that moment. But the book is so much more than that.
It could have been so much better, as a read, if spelling, wrong word usage and poor punctuation didn’t litter it. As well, I thought the language could do with tightening up.
I was not going to persevere but I’m pleased I did because, unlike much fiction from young male authors who tend to write in the action, sci-fi and fantasy genres, this one is refreshingly contemporary. I liked the storyline very much.
Steve is a 30 year old Londoner who seemingly has it all: striking looks, intelligence, fabulous job, money enough to own a multi-million pound apartment in Notting Hill, women falling at his feet and a best friend he can rely on. However, there are two things he doesn’t have. The first is his wife, the woman he adores, who left him because of his infidelity. The second is a career he cares about.
The opportunity to pursue his dream career comes in the form of an unreliable depressive artist, well-known Julian Storm. Why he hitches his wagon to someone unreliable is for you to find out by reading the book.
As I have said, the story is fresh, I liked the way it flowed and I liked the plentiful use of dialogue to drive it along.
A final comment: the title intrigued me. LIFE WITHOUT. Without what? You find out in the story’s final words and I loved it. Such a good title.
I was unable to contact the UK author for an interview.
|Posted by Alana on September 28, 2013 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Alana on May 19, 2013 at 4:00 AM||comments (0)|
Poor punctuation on the first page especially is what made the first impression. Plus what I thought was a major spoiler in the first few paragraphs but as the foreshadowed incident happened very quickly after that point I revised my thinking.
Chapter 3 contains a description of a walk in heavy crisp frost in bright sunshine which conjured memories of a similar walk I took several years ago in the south of the UK. Beautiful.
Until chapter 3 I thought the story was going to be third person single point of view but in that chapter another character takes over. From then on the POV jumps back and forth between Maggie Sayer—the counsellor—and her clients. It took several jumps for me to become accustomed to the POV changes but they had the effect of not being able to immerse myself in the story. I felt I didn’t get to know the characters intimately; however, I did like them.
Without giving anything away Maggie Sayer undertakes training and becomes a counsellor after a personal tragedy alters her life irrevocably. She, more than many, is in a position to understand the trauma confronting the people who seek her help. Although alone she is not lonely, having good work colleagues, loving parents, a close friend and an adoring dog. Set in the north of England the scenic descriptions anchor the story within its setting.
I’d hazard a guess that Jackson has some expertise in the subject matter. Her handling of the clients and their problems, and Sayer’s methodology, smacks of someone who knows what they’re talking about.
I was not enamoured of the writing style and language; I thought they lacked spark. My opinion only of course because style is entirely subjective to the reader.
However, I liked the story line and there was a satisfying ending. And, finally, a big plus was the dialogue which was natural and used well.
Take this link to my interview with Gillian Jackson
|Posted by Alana on May 5, 2013 at 5:00 AM||comments (0)|
This is a memoir with each chapter devoted to significant times in the author’s life. It is a retrospective, a looking back, at the situations and events that have made her who she is today.
Confessions is categorised as Boomer literature but I’m not sure. My understanding of the genre is that the principle character or characters are boomer agers in the present day and the story is an exploration of how they are looking ahead and coming to terms with aging and pursuing a worthy life after retiring from their lifetime career. But Confessions, as I say, is the author reminiscing about her life and what brought her to this point. Therefore, is it Boomer literature? I’m not going to angst about it, it’s a nice read in its own right.
I always wonder when reading memoirs how the author, in revealing the intimacies of their own lives, reconciles the revealing of other people’s, often family members, intimate details. I imagine that they ask for and are given permission. I pose that question because this one does contain such revelations.
Most chapters recall a different event or episode in Robert’s life but several, from chapter 13, follow her through 15 years from the idea and creation of a play Letters from the front she and her husband eventually took on tour to US military bases throughout the world. It became known as ‘The world’s most decorated play’ and if the passion they so obviously poured into it has anything to do with it I can understand why it became such a success.
Confessions is a straightforward memoir, candid, full of warmth and caring. Roberts’ faith that God will show the way shines through. Each parable engenders an emotional response be it a lump in the throat all the way through to a smile.
Simply and sincerely told I found it an easy, at times heart-tugging but heart-warming, read.
Take this link to my interview with Marsha Roberts