On starting this collection with the first story, Wichega, I was immediately drawn in by the wistful, melancholic voice of Sweet Pea, telling her story so powerfully. This story is so evocative of memories, of sights and smells and sensations, that I almost felt that I was right there in the scene. This story is such an engaging way to open the quartet of stories.
Messenger’s writing is equally powerful and emotive in the other stories. The characters are developed richly, each having their own distinct voice and mannerisms that portray far more than what is told of them in the stories themselves.
These stories, and the characters in them, are varied enough to keep the reader engaged and curious throughout the book. There is neither cliche nor repetition in the plots, characters and imagery delivered by Messenger.
These stories are, without doubt, American in both style and setting, at different times reminding me of the imagery and eloquence of John Steinbeck.
This is the first of his books that I have read, but I definitely hope to read more of his writing. I enjoyed Four American Tales very much.
‘Bittersweet’ by Aliya DalRae is the story of Malcolm, the black cat who features in Sweet Vengeance and Sweet Discovery, the first two novels in the Jessica Sweet trilogy.
The Jessica Sweet paranormal/mystery/romance novels portray Malcolm as a dark, mysterious creature who keeps his secrets closely concealed. ‘Bittersweet’ shows much more of who he is – sensitive and loving, yet carrying a burden that nobody else can understand.
This is a powerful and moving story, even for readers who are not familiar with DalRae’s Jessica Sweet novels. It works equally well as a standalone story, a companion backstory to the novels, or a very effective appetizer as an introduction to the novels.
DalRae’s writing is highly expressive and yet still so comfortable that the reader is drawn right into the world of Fallen Cross.
This book can be easily read in an hour, so ‘Bittersweet’ would be a perfect lazy afternoon or end of day read.
I’ve given this ADR novella five shiny stars.
‘Bittersweet’ is available on Amazon as an ebook or in paperback.
Alternatively, you can get it free via Instafreebie by signing up to Aliya DalRae’s mailing list.
Narrated in the first person by the character of Gemma Harding, ‘The Gift’ keeps the reader guessing right to the end. This story draws the reader into a complicated web of deceit and carefully constructed appearances that leave Gemma able to trust only herself and her gift in her search for the answers she needs.
The reader is drawn into Gemma’s character in the first chapter by a narration that is almost a stream-of-consciousness passage, through which Landis reveals Gemma’s special ability and how it has impacted on her life thus far. The reader, familiar with Gemma’s thoughts and feelings, follows her through this story sharing her thrills, fears and questions as events unfold.
This is a brilliant read. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys the mystery/thriller genre, particularly with a psychological edge to it.
Just the right proportions of history, secrets, adultery, passion, and rivalry are mixed together to form the wonderful sensation that is ‘An Enlightening Quiche’.
Rich in detail and sassy narration, Eva Pasco paints a portrait of small-town life that rings true for anyone who has lived in such a place.
On the surface, everything is clean and just right, but underneath there is a surging, heaving mass of emotion, ambition and self-interest that immerses the reader in the
Eva Pasco‘s writing is descriptive and quirky, reflecting the French-Canadian idiom of the fictional town of Beauchemins, Rhode Island. The reader is drawn into the story through the parallel narrations of the lead characters, making them them feel as though they are a one of the townsfolk and leading them to decide for themselves who is honest or justified in their actions as the story progresses. Pasco’s humour comes through, resulting in chuckles and smirks as one reads. Yet there are also moments of shock and sadness, and of a strong sensation of more than one character wishing things had been different.
Having spent some time in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, the French-Canadian nostalgia for all things Quebequois has been beautifully captured by Pasco. The occasional exclamation of “Tabarnak!” and the consistent use of French names for even the most mundane of foods – “un croque-monsieur” for a grilled ham and cheese sandwich – adds authenticity and depth to the characters. Beauchemins actually made me a little homesick for my own part of French Canada. Would someone please deliver me a poutine?
This honorary Canuck gives ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ 5 stars, not only for it’s fabulous story, but also for its charm and authenticity. Beauchemins – ca vaut le visite!
Holy moly. I started this book with absolutely no idea what was going to happen to me as I read it. Now that I have finished it, I find that I am completely and utterly in love with the characters and places that I encountered in this magical, mystical fantasy tale that has woven its tendrils around my heart.
It’s taking most of my will-power to write a review before I pick up the second book. And that’s not the worst of it. I have work to do. And there are other things I have committed to read. Drat you, Missy Sheldrake! Because of you, I am in the clutches of a bona-fide “I don’t want to adult, I want to stay in the world of the book” dilemma. It’s a very good thing for us both that there are sequels!
The first book in the “Keepers of the Wellspring” series, ‘Call of Kythshire’ is completely enchanting. It has been on my TBR list for a while, looking completely innocent and unassuming while sitting on the shelf, but as soon as I opened it, my fate was sealed.
Missy Sheldrake began to work her magic on me from the first chapter, drawing me in until I was fully invested in the journey that my imagination and emotions were being taken on. It’s a beautifully crafted quest through faraway lands that become very real and much closer to our own world as one reads, accompanied by some of the most feisty and determined yet loveable characters I have ever met. I travelled with them, stood by them as they faced challenges from others who sought to misuse their powers, and encouraged them to conquer their differences and internal conflicts to overcome them. I’m not even sure I would have made all the same decisions, but then I remember Rian’s words: ” “Who are we to decide who’s worth saving and who’s worth punishing? What would you have done in such a desperate situation? Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t do everything in your power to help the ones you love?” and I know he is right.
Reader, beware. You will get hooked, and there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it. Except read the next in the series, that is.
Big News! As it turns out, and completely unknown to me until I had already written this review, book #4 comes out on Friday, March 3! On that day, the first three ebooks of this series will be ABSOLUTELY FREE on Amazon! It’s true!
There’s also a short story, ‘Snowberry Blossom’, that fits between books 2 and 3 of the tetralogy.
You can see for yourself on Missy Sheldrake’s own blog, which you should probably follow because you’re probably going to end up being a huge fan, just like me.
Beautifully written, ‘Reclamation’ is a series of stories that function as parts of a whole. From beginning to end, the reader is entranced by the storytelling and the imagery used to achieve it.
Frediani has embedded mysticism and beauty so skilfully in these stories that even concepts of corruption, degradation and justice are explored in ways that deepen the reader’s understanding of the reclamation and redemption that occur throughout these tales.
A very mysterious and poignant element of this book is that the setting could be anywhere. It’s not bound to a specific location or people group. Instead, the story is unified by the mystical elements that add so much depth and vibrancy to the story.
The reader is drawn into the stories and the places where they take place. The imagery was rich and powerful, creating vivid pictures of characters, scenes and landscapes as each story played out, almost like a film playing on a virtual screen in my mind.