Book Review​: Treading The Uneven Road

Bookworms! I have the pleasure of sharing another review with you. This one was called Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown and was published by Fomite Press.

Cover of Threading The Uneven Road

Synopsis: The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A bypass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later.

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story, the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

This book was a breath of fresh air. Not only did it satisfy my craving of travel with its beautiful descriptions of Northwest Ireland and the surrounding landscapes, but it also brought on this feeling of “lust” (not sure if this is the right word) to go there and see it for myself.

A lot of times, I won’t read a synopsis and jump right into a book so that I am completely unprepared and surprised by everything. An example would be to watch a movie without seeing the trailer for the non-readers out there. So I was very excited when I realized that all of these short stories were connected to the next and previous stories and the characters were the same in most of them. It was like revealing a little bit more of the townsfolk piece by piece from different viewpoints.

The story about Patrick was my favorite. He had a rough encounter that left his relationship with his father very tense (I won’t say what it is, no spoilers here). It made me feel for Patrick and just want him to succeed and be happy. The only downfall to this story is that I wanted more of it. It left me wondering if he would be ok and I just wasn’t ready to leave it at that.

All of these stories were just people being themselves and trying to fit into society or be what society wanted them to be. The feelings were raw and powerful and it came through in the way the author wrote about her characters.

I would recommend this book to anyone that wants intricate storytelling of an Irish village and all the components that make up its inner workings. It wasn’t a “WOW this is amazing” book but more of a subtle “wow I quite enjoyed that”.

Book Rating: 4/5

About the Author
L.M Brown is the author of the novel Debris. Her stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines. She grew up in Sligo, Ireland, but now resides in Massachusetts with her husband, three daughters, a dog and a bearded dragon.

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format by the author to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: Unsavory Delicacies

We have Sara’s first review of the new year ready to share with you. This was the second book in a series that she started in 2018. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

*Also check out her Etsy store Adorkable Lil Crafties to see what she makes in her spare time*

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Synopsis: Rogues, Russians, Revenge…The Ingredients of a Three Course Meal.

Crème Brûlée

Rogue operative, Monique Beauvais, cons a software genius into selling her a coveted technology that would allow its user to control CIA drones while they’re in flight. And she will go as far as killing him in public in order to have it.

To the Last Bite

A renowned food critic–whose scathing reviews have closed down restaurants–gets a savoury surprise.

Shashlyk and Morezhenoe

CIA operative, Ridley Fox, leads a team against one of Russia’s most powerful crime families. He discovers secrets, but not one that he was expecting to find.

Three stories with three consequences. All containing three Unsavory Delicacies.

This collection of three short stories follow Ridley Fox, a spy operative we were introduced to in Brooks’ first novel. Mostly.

SPOILER HERE
In the first short, we have an agent attempting to kill her supplier for some tech, only to discover that the supplier is actually Fox in disguise, and takes down the agent in her own apartment.

In the second short, a food critic is killed by a chef whose food he actually enjoys, for stealing his girlfriend and giving him a terrible review in the past. No sign of Fox in this one, so who knows why this was included in the collection.

In the third, Fox is undercover attempting to find some important files from a Mobster who owns a restaurant. He gets away with it only because he manages to take down one bodyguard which apparently terrifies the Mobster into submission.

I’m not exactly sure what this collection is supposed to be FOR. One of the stories doesn’t include Fox, and none of them include Parris, who is supposedly the other main character. Overall the stories seem like introductions to what could be a more interesting larger story, so maybe they’re a hint of what’s to be in the third book? They also don’t do much to make me like Fox as a character any more than I did after the first book, as he seems to just be an arrogant ass, which might be the point. I personally like at least a couple redeeming qualities in my main narrators, but that might just be me.

I’m interested to see what Brooks will do for the next book, and I hope that it’s a full-length story like Pandora’s Succession. I ALMOST liked that book, and I feel like Brooks has potential as an author if he can use some more original dialogue and plot points. There are some pretty major cliches here that make it feel like you’ve read these ideas in another form already.


Book Rating:
2/5

You can buy the book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: The Meandering Muse

Hey Bookworms!! Guess what?!
The book reviews will be a little less often now as I accepted a part-time teaching position at Canadore College in North Bay. I am very excited to be teaching and will try and keep up with the book reviews to the best of my ability (I feel like I might be spending my free time lesson planning). For today, this book was called The Meandering Muse by Katherine Mayfield. It is a collection of short stories, essays, poetry, and musings of the author.

Synopsis: Step inside the mind of a writer obsessed with the workings of the Universe and crazed with the spirit of creativity.

This collection of delightful and thought-provoking essays, poems, CNF, and short fiction by award-winning author Katherine Mayfield will make readers laugh as they ponder the infinitely enigmatic workings of the Universe.

Ranging wildly from subjects such as multitasking, schizophrenia, shopaholism, money, and the government to the woes of a homeowner forced to use bananas and daffodils to humanely remove wasps from her living room, these unique and inventive Dave Barry-esque mini-symphonies of words will widen readers’ perspectives on life, nature, and human beings.

This book was very enjoyable. The author writes with such ease of mind, it’s wonderful. She talks about her overbearing mother and how that affected her as she grew up. She talks about Mother Nature and how we mistreat her and I applaud her for it. It’s nice to see an author emphasize her honesty and have it reflect in her “musings”.

The book is a very quick read at exactly 100 pages. You will find yourself laughing throughout and will overall feel relaxed reading this one. I would say this book is like having a conversation with your fun aunt who gives it to you how it is. She won’t ever pressure you to do anything and just wants you to be happy as you are 🙂

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book and add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.
 
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Book Review: Vignettes by Lola Andrews

Well to start off this review, I am pretty pumped to say that I have surpassed 300 followers on Twitter and have achieved 150 WordPress followers! Thank you so much to everyone that takes the time to read my reviews 🙂 I have loved having book discussions with everyone and will continue to do so. Bringing attention to new author’s books is a passion of mine and I am glad people are interested in hearing what I have to say. I give honest opinions about the books I read and I will stay true to that.

So let us jump into this review, shall we! Vignettes by Lola Andrews is a collection of LGBTQ erotic novellas.

Synopsis: Kamila is fighting loneliness, and her affair with a married woman hardly seems like the solution, Lana and Emma don’t know what they want, other than each other, while Eric, Sam, and Tove are just enjoying each other and their shared life. Meanwhile, Mia is just very horny and missing her wife, Clara and Julia are trapped together in a road trip, Linda is blocked and Jaron and Noah are barely holding on to their sanity.

Meet them and many more in this collection of short stories, which hopes to show the beauty of love had, love lost and love kept. Join these everyday heroes, who take chances in the simplest ways, and who, above all, want nothing but love. These stories of LGBTQ persuasion hope to inspire, warm up and enliven your day.

This was my first time reading erotica and I can honestly say that I am not really a fan. Nothing against the author, I just don’t think this genre is for me. However, it has only been my first experience with it so I am open to trying out others to compare.

The book was OK. There were some short stories that I enjoyed but I found that they lacked in a storyline. I think by focusing more on a storyline and building up to the ultimate climax of the actual sex, it could make these stories more entertaining to read. This may be why Fifty Shades is a big success (never read the book or saw the movie so this could be a shady comparison due to lack of knowledge). For me, I like to learn and grow with the characters, to see their stories blossom into something exciting, intense or dramatic but in these short stories, I felt that most of the characters were thrown together just to fulfill the sexual desire and then nothing else.

There was one I rather enjoyed about two women who were past lovers and then thrown back into each other’s lives due to an investigation on some murders. It had a big Supernatural vibe because they were dealing with werewolves and it was like Sam and Dean hunting down another monster (except in this case they weren’t related and were past lovers). So this one I did enjoy.

But then there was one that got a little incestual about a father and son romance and I couldn’t handle this. This was just too much for me. I could tell what was coming and was cringing when trying to read through it.

My rating reflects my honest opinion. I can see this author doing really well in this genre but my criticism would be to add a little more storyline and build a little more on the characters. Once someone falls into the story and likes/dislikes the characters, then the erotic parts will be that much more meaningful and intense. They will bring a reader to their true climax.

Book Rating: 2.5/5

About the Author: Lola Andrews began writing the moment she developed an imagination. Though her skill has changed with time (for the better!), she has always been hungry for new and better stories, and now hopes to add to the LGBTQ community with her humble offerings. When not writing, Lola can be found pole dancing, drinking wine and watching movies.

You can find Lola on Twitter!

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the author to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: You Should Come With We Now

I recently finished a book sent to me by STORGY for review called You Should Come With Me Now by John Harrison.

‘You Should Come With Me Now’ an anthology by M. John Harrison from the wonderful Independent publisher Comma Press boasted a collection of short stories that were quite different and a joy to read, this due in part to the range Harrison possesses; the storylines ranged from people with schizophrenia (are they schizophrenic or were there ghosts living among them), different worlds that only some could see and tales of stalking etc.

What I really enjoyed most about these short stories is that Harrison leaves each one open to the interpretation of the reader. In so much as to say I could think that it means one thing and someone else could have a completely different interpretation and reaction to the same story.

Some of the stories were slow burners at first; hard to get into the story, but by the time the ending drops it leaves you with one line that at first you wouldn’t think is a good ending but plays on the mind long after reading, giving you an understanding of why Harrison concluded the story in this way. These short stories really make you think out of the box in the way Harrison uses descriptions of characters and settings.

Reflecting about which was my favourite, the one that stands out in my mind was about a man and his close friend; whom you can tell he loves but she is married and her husband is a hermit that lives in their attic. He is always up there working on some project but no one knows what it is and the story trundles along to show how his absence from their lives is affecting everyone else. When it gets to the ending, the house gets almost torn apart! My interpretation of it is that he has been working on defending himself from another dimension, which is revealed masterfully at the end for
the rest of the characters to see. Someone else might interpret this story in a different way which is so cool because then it would spark a discussion about why and how they see it their way.

Overall, this collection of short stories was pretty interesting and they didn’t ramble on as many short stories do, being reminiscent of Novellas instead of the delicate craft of the short story. Each time I returned it felt like reading a new book each time, once again highlighting Harrison’s range of writing and the intricate craft of the short story form.

M-John-Harrison

M John Harrison – M. John Harrison is the author of eleven novels (including In Viriconium, The Course of the Heart and Light), as well as four previous short story collections, two graphic novels, and collaborations with Jane Johnson, writing as Gabriel King. He won the Boardman Tasker Award for Climbers (1989), the James Tiptree Jr Award for Light (2002) and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Nova Swing (2007). He reviews fiction for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, and lives
in Shropshire.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book to review by STORGY. I am in no way being compensated for this review.

Here is the link to the STORGY article.