Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sunday Wrap Up: Week ending June 1, 2014

This week we here at The Review Group formally move into a new phase in which we feature reviews that started out as "ordinary" reads. For a variety of reasons as we take in our chosen works, they turn into something much more than ordinary, resulting here in spontaneous reviews. A great way to recognize a wider variety of titles and--as we develop the concept--invite readers closer into our circle, this new feature will also have a presence on our linked Facebook page that will take this previously casual appearance to another level. And you can be part of it! Keep watching our Facebook page for your chance to jump in!

Also gracing us this week is the lovely Louise with the first of her interviews feature. Keep an eye out as she takes us to the sofa with a variety of intriguing peeps to discover some of the key ideas and roots behind works we love, those she might introduce us to and some we may have been aware of but have not yet explored. She'll take you places, so buckle your seat belt and let's go!!


The Dry Lands by Trish Marie Dawson

Trish Marie Dawson once again demonstrates her ability to take a genre and make it her own. Having discovered her work with the Find Me series of post-pandemic shattered Earth fiction I moved on to her  young adult-flavoured Station series with equal relish. However when I learned she was turning her hand towards what I would normally describe as science fiction I wondered whether this would prove to be a step too far.

Needless to say my fears were groundless.

The Dry Lands is a fantastic page turner of a read which sinks its hooks in from the start and keeps up a breathless pace as we join Hutch and A'ris across the blasted, sun beaten land of Ernoth as a runaway princess with a dreadful burden struggles against the elements, ruthless assassins, an overly talkative parrot and her growing feelings for a rough and ready bodyguard to reach 'The Dome.' 

This is probably her longest book to date weighing in at 115,000 plus words but you wouldn't know it. The drama and excitement never let up for a moment and before you realise it you are approaching the end and wishing it was even longer.

Check out the rest of the review here.


Welcome to  The Review's Author Interview

The author who is joining us for an interview today is Peter St. John, author of the Gang series.

Welcome to The Review Interview, Peter, and thank you for taking time out to have a chat with me about your books.

Below is an excerpt from the product description for Peter's latest book in paperback, Gang Warfare, which is due to be published in May by Silver Wood Books Ltd.

Gang Warfare front cover
"Gang Warfare is a novel for all readers from nine to ninety-nine.

An orphan, evacuated from the World War II bombing of London, comes to live with his pious aunt in an English village, a bag of liquorice allsorts is knocked out of his hand in the school playground. This trivial incident ignites a series of events leading to a breakdown of relations in the local community."

The first question that I would like to ask you is; what was it that made you decide to write your Gang series? What was the drive behind these books?

My original intention was to write a series of short stories about happenings in an English village during World War II. I had never before tried my hand at fiction, so I began by writing a story about the problems caused when a huge tree, blown down in a storm, was cut up for firewood. This seemed to go fairly well at about 2,000 words, so I started another story about bullying at school.

By the time this was finished, it had grown to 100,000 words which is hardly a short story! Even so, this effort encouraged me to start a second novel, and lo and behold, the original short story abut the tree and the firewood became a critical pivot in the plot for my second novel, Gang Warfare.

Many readers wonder about the research of books. How difficult was the research for your books?

What will he say? Come find out!


Spontaneous Review:
Disappearing in Plain Sight by Francis Guenette
Review by Anna Belfrage

I was recommended this book by a friend, who suggested I might find it more worthwhile to read this than watch my way through numerous movies when on one of my long flights. Boy, am I glad she did, because from the moment I started this, I was utterly captivated.

Ms. Guenette writes a rich prose, with vivid descriptions that transport you to hot summer days by Crater Lake, somewhere in British Columbia. Trees march up the mountains in multiple hues of green, gardens are filled to the brim with colours and scents, and everywhere is the lake, a splash of deep blue surrounded by forest-clad slopes. After reading this book, I am actually considering emigration – I could do with living in such splendid surroundings.

Add to Ms. Guenette’s descriptive talents a complex plotline and several well-developed characters, and you have a great novel. Reading Disappearing in Plain Sight is like listening to "Pathetique" by Beethoven: a distinct measured pace where the sheer brilliance of the recurring themes is showcased against an underlying melancholia.

To the isolated location of Crater Lake arrives Lisa-Marie, a confused and hurting teenager. So far in life, she has had no reason to trust any adults other than her grandmother, but due to circumstances her grandmother is not in a position to cope, and so Lisa-Marie is sent off to live with her aunt, ethereal Bethany. If Bethany is ethereal, her partner Beulah is anything but, all tough attitude and butch ways. Beulah is less than thrilled at having Lisa-Marie foisted upon them, and there is palpable tension between Beulah and Lisa-Marie.

Where will this take everybody? Find out what Anna says about following this through to the end


Missed last week's Sunday Wrap Up? Not to worry, it's right here!

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