Thelma Mariano: Heart of Stone

Book’s Blurb

Following a wager of the gods, a statue of Aphrodite springs to life. She has thirty days to find true love or return to stone.

After two hundred years trapped in granite, Daphne will do anything to stay alive. However, she’s past her prime as a woman and her face is pockmarked after prolonged exposure to acid rain and pollution. Without the advantages of youth or obvious beauty, how can she attract a suitable partner in so little time?

 

 

Heart of Stone

In a world of instant gratification and hookups, is it even possible to find anything real? And do so before the month runs out?
Desperate for answers, she turns to others for advice and looks for love in all the wrong places. With days, then minutes remaining to her, she must listen to the wisdom of her now-fragmented heart.

 

 

…the story symbolizes the dilemma faced by many women – to open our hearts to love and risk vulnerability (in Daphne’s case, death) or to resist and turn to stone.

Heart of Stone is a romantic fantasy.  Thelma Mariano began writing fiction in the confessions field, where she sold over 40 stories to women’s magazines (such as True Story, True Confessions and True Experience) put out by NYC publishers in the days of mass readership. She is also the author of three published novels: Night Cries (women’s fiction), ConneXions (psychological suspense) and SeaStruck (a paranormal romance).

Heart of Stone is a short and easy read. It ponders the notion of true love and the pain of a broken heart. The novel is set in some of Montreal’s landmarks: Old Montreal,  Le Plateau and St. Denis Street. But the most remarkable one for me is of the chapel in the Old Port where the statue of Our Lady of the Harbor is immortalized in Leonard Cohen’s haunting song Suzanne.

The book is offered for free right now on Smashwords and Amazon. I had difficulty downloading it on my Kindle through Amazon but had no problems sending it to my iPad. Go figure!

 

 

Ana Linden: Albatross

albatross

In her collection of stories Ana Linden refuses to have her characters see through rose colored glasses or have happily ever after futures.

Don’t expect extraordinary individuals, always able to make the world a better place, when they can hardly save themselves. This world is not one of untainted, selfless, righteous spiritual leaders either, just as it is not one devoid of violence, crime, pain or punishment.
https://analindenblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/albatross-the-big-day/

In Albatross, the opening story, Linden gives us an honest perspective of husband and wife regarding the staleness of their marriage.

Then there is the single woman’s paranoia and fears that accompany what it’s like to live alone after being robbed.

And the story about the affair. “The moment we met, we knew the week spent together would be one of those times so essentially shallow, that it can have nothing less than a profound effect on both of us.”

Ana Linden has the ability to surprise and at times shock. Her characters are often “running away from someone, something or running to catch them, him, whoever.”

Running away from memories and the past, Ana Linden’s stories challenge us to dig deeper where safety lies. Safety and home are recurring themes in these stories. In Freedom her character builds herself a home with an inheritance: It’s so fulfilling to have an endpoint in sight, after all this time.”

A second layer to these stories has to do with self-awareness. Not the fluffy kind but an honest awareness of the fear of losing one’s identity by getting too close. The kind that brings you to the scary heart of emotions and thoughts, of guilt and doubt. The kind that makes you feel uneasy and provides insightful (sometimes horrific) snippets of what goes on behind closed doors and minds.

Ana Linden writes with a certain innocence, breaks the rules and is at times obscure and experimental. Like her nameless characters she is unconventional in her writing. A writers’ writer, one might say.

Click here for an excerpt of Albatross.

 

Jacqui Murray: Born In A Treacherous Time

This post is part of Jacqui Murray’s book launch.

Jacqui Murray

 

Jacqui Murray took twenty years to write Born in A Treacherous Time. One might think that’s a long time but then the setting of her novel goes back 1.8 million years. Yikes!

Drawing from insights from various fields in paleo sciences and history the novel takes us into what survival and living everyday must have been like during this period in the hot, dry savannas of East Africa.

Lucy, whom you may remember from To Hunt a Sub  shows both ape like and human traits. She exhibits empathy, kinship, responsibility, inquisitiveness and tenderness. In her efforts to belong  into her new group Lucy confronts jealousy by the female members who disapprove of her going out to hunt. (Not a female thing to do).

The hunt plays a major role in this novel where Lucy – sometimes stalked by predators, sometimes herself the predator – encounters life and death situations. Murray excels at describing the different hunts and the rituals attached to them. I found these aspects of the novel to be very informative as well as adventurous.

Murray has a way of placing the reader right there in the jungle following Lucy in her will to survive. Right there with her in the climatic changes, witnessing man’s first weather forecaster. You are running/jogging/racing alongside Lucy. Learning how her group communicates. You admire her creativity and passion to solve problems and invent tools. Admire her knowledge of plants and their healing properties. You root for her. She is our pre-historic heroine!

We are far, far away from online shopping, walking on the moon, finding cures for diseases, building high-rises and even the invention of the wheel. Born in a Treacherous Time is a testament to the greatness and dominance of man against nature.

This is a novel which filled me with gratitude and respect for my ancestors and their resilience.  To somewhat quote Jacqui Murray in an interview with Tina Frisco:

Murray treats early man with majesty and nobility.

 

 

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Available at: Kindle US, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anneli Purchase: The Wind Weeps

The Wind Weeps ​

A romantic fishing tale​​​​​​​​​

Although knowing practically nothing about fishing, Andrea accidently finds herself in the hard-working sub-culture of commercial fishing. She painfully learns the ins and outs of fishing from preparing the boat for the season to the camaraderie within the fishing community and its inevitable human tensions.
The setting is exquisite, wild and beautiful and the author has the talent to create vivid, emotionally packed images.

Annel photo

photo source

In her attempts to redefine a life for herself Andrea is forced to face the complexities of her abuse and their devastating effects on her romantic relationships.
This is a story about survival: physical survival, moral survival and survival of the soul.

 

Anneli

The Wind Weeps, is a must-read for any woman who has been or is trying to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is also a man’s story as it involves the rugged world of commercial fishing on the gorgeous coast of British Columbia.

Click here for more details on Anneli Purchase’s books.

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Rubin’s Benjamin Oris

Benjamin Oris, Carrie Rubin’s protagonist in her latest medical thriller is a med student/construction type of hero. A sexy combination. No wonder women are attracted to him. He is your basic guy next door who wears boxers to bed, buys cheap ties and tends to have untrimmed stubble because his life is so chaotic that he hardly has time to shave. He is caught up in a web involving women, a Vodou curse that goes back two hundred years, a mysterious relationship with his mother and having his supervisor down his throat. To name a few of his problems. 

He’s easy to like.

The Bone Curse

The novel reads smoothly and there is a good level of palpable tension that increases throughout. Being a supernatural medical thriller the author does a great job creating a hospital environment and dwelling deep into Vodou curses. 

A believer of paranormal I am not. Neither is Carrie Rubin. Or her protagonist Ben Oris. But, as Carol Keen  points out in her review of The Bone Curse on Goodreads, it doesn’t matter.

It isn’t necessary for him (Ben Oris) to believe a curse has power or not. When others believe it, he is forced to take the curse seriously.

As Carrie Rubin does. Her usage of Haitian terms and her writing style ( “…, easing some of the heartache in the room.”) add charm to the novel. Before the opening of each chapter the author straightforwardly provides a date and time: Thursday, August 6, 10:00 A.M. This I found to be a very smart and efficient way for my distracted mind to keep track of the time span of the novel.

Although the ending was satisfying and all her loose ends were tightly tied, Carrie Rubin left the door open to a Book 2 with enough suspense to want to know how Oris’ relationship with the people he loves will develop. Including that of a disease detective in the Epidemic Intelligence Service.

The Bone Curse is available here

For more reviews on The Bone Curse:

https://jmmcdowell.com/2018/03/23/book-review-the-bone-curse/

https://writersite.org/category/book-review/

I won The Bone Curse in Carrie Rubin’s ARC Giveaway awhile back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sally Cronin’s What’s In a Name? Vol. 2

I like to read in bed to get drowsy. Short stories are gratifying in this way because they allow me to hold my eyes open long enough to reach the end of the story. However, in reading Sally’s stories I found her endings reeling me in for just one more story as I fought sleep.

What’s In a Name Vol. 2 contains 16 stories.  Sally Cronin writes honest fiction that reaches the depth of real life, yet her stories are like bubble bath in a warm tub.
It was D.J. Kaye’s post that got me to read Sally’s book:

Cronin’s writing has a way of taking us into the character’s emotions, evoking an emotion in us in return, be it angst, fear, passion or grief. 

The characters in these stories – fortune tellers, con artists, arrogant narcissists, lovers – display courage, revenge, disappointments, romance and sacrifice. Some of the stories are bittersweet, some with surprising endings, many imaginative and all with just enough to satisfy.

Like D.G. Kaye, my favourite story was also about two beloved Xenias -a tender love story among three generations set in a lovely Greek garden.

If you feel like a little luxury treat read this book  – maybe while soaking in a bath.

whats-in-a-name-volume-two-by-sally-cronin

Available:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Volumes-1-2/dp/1905597797

Visit Sally’ blog at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

Annika Perry’s The Storyteller Speaks

 

I have been following Annika’s blog for some time now and am always eager to hear what she has to say. Whether she writes about her reflections on the extraordinary-ness of life; providing tips for writers; reviewing books; or writing about journeys taken, Annika writes with a sense of profoundness mixed in with whimsy. 
Such is also the case in her collection The Storyteller Speaks.

 

annika perry

Her descriptions shine. Take as example where, in Biding Her Time a young girl  “…smiled sweetly, shaking her head, her long pigtails waving apologetically, the red bows catching the sunlight.” Or her humorous side in Chillies in My Handbag where she “feel(s) the reassuring caress of soft leather – my red Hermes handbag. Subconsciously I bend over and stroke it, with a final pat on the side. My surrogate pet.”
Then there are her stories of death. In A Bouquet of White: “First when they were young its reality as remote as the planets they gazed upon, with the unflagging belief in their own invincibility.” And her most touching and loving piece in memory of her grandfather in Loss of a Patriarch – “A farewell hug to last a lifetime.”

Perry’s stories are emotional pieces. Moving and honest. Filled with love and beautiful imagination.

The Storyteller Speaks Available at:

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/STORYTELLER-SPEAKS-Powerful-Stories-Heart-ebook/dp/B0789KZVF8/

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/STORYTELLER-SPEAKS-Powerful-Stories-Heart-ebook/dp/B0789KZVF8/