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review 2015-06-02 22:00
DRitC - Love Is An Open Road: A Single Step by Vicky Heysham
A Single Step - Vicky Heysham

Free story from the M/M Romance group's 2015 Love Is An Open Road event.

 

I really liked the format in which this was written. Super cute! Totally worth it, even though there's not even a single kiss.

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review 2015-01-02 15:55
A Single Step (The Grayson Trilogy #1)
A Single Step (Book 1 of The Grayson Trilogy) - Georgia Rose

Author: Georgia Rose

Published: February 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Category: Romantic Drama, Contemporary

 

Emma Grayson was left devastated when her life was torn apart by tragedy and betrayal. Now someone believes it’s time for her to start again and puts an advert for a job through her door which leads her to the Melton Estate. Despite her desire for a solitary existence she finds herself discovering a life she could never have imagined, challenging her independence, her fears and her resistance to love.

Emma Grayson desperately needs a fresh start after a devastating personal trauma compounded by a betrayal she couldn’t comprehend. She secures a job with Lord Cavendish of Melton Manor Estate, managing the stables and looking after the horses, after the advert for the job had been posted to her anonymously. Hurt beyond measure and disillusioned, she is wary of getting close to anyone again and just wants to get on with her job and be left alone. The community on the Estate is a tight knit one though and Emma soon finds herself, almost against her will, being drawn in and actually enjoying making new friends.

I’d also mulled over who had put this through my letterbox in the first place, dismissing most of the names I came up with and leaving me with one suspect. My still viciously raw feelings towards her and the thought of her motivation for doing this was to get me to move away almost made me tear it up. In the end, however, so as not to spite myself, I’d written a curriculum vitae, attached it to an email as requested, and sent it together with a covering letter.

The story is told in the first person by Emma, which gives the tragedy she suffered even more poignancy and engenders a deep sympathy and understanding for her. Despite her initial contrary attitude with people, it’s easy to like her and very obvious she loves the horses and her dog, Susie. 

 

The suspense builds slowly and, with little hints dropped about Emma’s self-defense abilities, you know something is looming, and Emma’s skills are displayed unexpectedly during a night out. And as the sparks begin between Emma and Trent, it becomes apparent he has secrets of his own which he’s unwilling to talk about.

 

Really good, strong portrayals of Trent, enigmatic and aloof, and Emma, stubborn and edgy, and their personalities develop as the story progresses. The other characters, although likeable, were slightly less well-rounded but hopefully will come into their own as the series moves forward. The setting and atmosphere of the estate is created in such detail it’s easy to have a mental picture running with the narrative. And, although I’m not a horsey person, I found the descriptions of work at the stables and the horses interesting to read. 

 

There are a lot of surprises revealed along the way, character wise, and even the estate isn’t quite what it seems. Melton Manor has an air of mystery about it as Lord Cavendish and his right hand man, Trent, disappear on business trips several times in the Estate’s helicopter and the male staff all belong, in some capacity, to the military. 

 

Well written and entertaining, I enjoyed the storyline and look forward to following on with the series.

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review 2014-04-28 23:28
Review: A Single Step (Grayson Trilogy #1) by Georgia Rose
A Single Step - Georgia Rose

I'd like to sincerely thank author Georgia Rose for the free download of this novel via goodreads. I must admit I didn't read the synopsis prior to download as I do like a surprise read every now and then. The front cover image of this novel didn't really give any clues as to the story within, such a simple yet effective image that, to me, conjured up countless possibilities.

 

This novel was so easy to read, with each chapter flowing seamlessly into the next. Unlike countless other ebooks around, my ocd afflicted eye struggled to find grammatical or punctuation errors. I found the grand total of none! This alone meant a huge thumbs up for this book.

 

Female protagonist Emma Grayson embarks on a complete change of life as she takes a new job caring for the family horses, complete with accommodation on the sprawling country estate, of a wealthy couple. Emma is relishing the chance of some solitude with only her faithful dog Susie, and new equestrian charges, for company. The country setting is picturesque, the horses a joy to ride and care for and her cottage charming. Emma, however, is about to get a whole lot more company than she bargained for!

 

I found the characters likeable and well written, the story great to read and a few surprises along the way. I did find a few parts rather predictable, but this simply meant that I didn't have to think too much. A steady easy to read novel and a week thought out start to the Grayson trilogy. I'll be looking out for the second instalment. 4/5.

 

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review 2014-04-28 00:00
A Single Step: 1 (The Grayson Trilogy)
A Single Step - Georgia Rose Review: A Single Step (Grayson Trilogy #1) by Georgia Rose I'd like to sincerely thank author Georgia Rose for the free download of this novel via goodreads. I must admit I didn't read the synopsis prior to download as I do like a surprise read every now and then. The front cover image of this novel didn't really give any clues as to the story within, such a simple yet effective image that, to me, conjured up countless possibilities.

This novel was so easy to read, with each chapter flowing seamlessly into the next. Unlike countless other ebooks around, my ocd-afflicted eye struggled to find grammatical or punctuation errors. I found the grand total of none! This alone meant a huge thumbs up for this book.

Female protagonist Emma Grayson embarks on a complete change of life as she takes a new job caring for the family horses, complete with accommodation on the sprawling country estate, of a wealthy couple. Emma is relishing the chance of some solitude with only her faithful dog Susie, and new equestrian charges, for company. The country setting is picturesque, the horses a joy to ride and care for and her cottage charming. Emma, however, is about to get a whole lot more company than she bargained for!

I found the characters likeable and well written, the story great to read and a few surprises along the way. I did find a few parts rather predictable, but this simply meant that I didn't have to think too much. A steady easy to read novel and a week thought out start to the Grayson trilogy. I'll be looking out for the second instalment. 4/5.
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review 2011-08-31 00:00
A Single Step
A Single Step - Ray Foy A Single Step is my story about one high school freshman's experiences with bullying, kung fu, and religious intolerance in the American deep south in the late 20th century.

It's the story of Bobby Lorman, a high school freshman in 1995 who is harassed by bullies nearly every day of his life. His chief bully, Anthony Benton, has pressured him into abetting the theft of camera equipment from their high school. Bobby is a devout Christian and his crime, committed out of fear, is compounded with the guilt of having violated the tenets of his faith. He knows he should confess, but intimidation and fear of consequences keeps him suffering in silence.

When his freshman year ends, Bobby's mother and stepfather send him to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle who run a bed-and-breakfast in a victorian mansion outside of Natchez, Mississippi.

At first Bobby is just glad to be away from his troubles, but he soon discovers another set of them in Natchez. Though stimulated by the different surroundings, he finds country-life physically hard. He can't keep up with the other teenagers working in the gardens, can't ride a horse, and can't swim. He is targeted by the local bullies and the local church only aggravates his guilt. His uncle offers to teach him kung fu, but he rejects the offer out of fear that he would be learning pagan ways.

It takes a powerful event during an outing in Natchez to get Bobby to reconsider accepting his uncle's help. He struggles with the desire to learn to fight his bullies and his fear that learning kung fu will be as good as abandoning his faith.

The story's title, A Single Step, is taken from that famous verse in the Dao-De-Ching:

...a long journey begins with a single step.

And there are a lot of "single steps" in this story. The characters keep taking them, knowingly or not. We all do this. I've had a lot of new starts in my life, some more deliberate than others. It's just a part of life's journey. What we see with Bobby is his realization of being on that journey, and how he comes to be deliberate about making his way.

This realization and subsequent change in life-mode is Bobby's salvation, as it is ours. It can be found and expressed through most any religion or philosophy because it is at the heart of all of them. It's humanity's collective wisdom-from-experience and is what I call Ming lu in the story.

Certainly, many people won't agree with this view. It clashes with religious ideas wherever they tend towards clannishness and intolerance. That clash provides one of the major conflicts in A Single Step. It is something that everyone who dares to step outside their comfortable group has to deal with. They face the censure of their formerly unquestioned companions, along with the guilt and doubt that is a result of leaving the familiar.

A Single Step deals with a number of issues in telling its story. The most obvious is that of bullying, which is a problem not uncommon in our society. Most people have likely dealt with it on one side or other of the bully-victim equation. I was always on the victim side. It is one of those state-of-affairs that I consider a "soul crusher." That is, it's a predatory situation that kills the self-worth of the victim, especially if the victim is a thinking, introspective person.

Attempts to deal with bullying based on the popular culture tend to make it worse. In America, these can be exhortations for the victim to become a bigger bully than the bully ("Don't start a fight, but finish it."), or policies to punish the victims (zero-tolerance policies that punish everybody and don't blame an aggressive, sociopathic personality), or reliance on authority-figures to solve the problem ("Tell the teacher; tell the principal."). All are ineffective because the problem always come down to the bully and his victim, alone on the playground.

Greatly diminished self-worth is the tragic consequence of a child who has been subjected to bullying for long years with no relief. It can make the child a fearful and ineffective adult. It can be even worse if the child lives under another potential soul-crusher--organized religion. Unfortunately, the puritanical, fundamentalist religions prevalent in America, especially in the South, promote self-mortification. They teach their members that they are born evil and are unworthy of salvation but for the grace of God. When this idea is drilled into a bullied child, the result can be deadly and take a lifetime to overcome, if ever.

In A Single Step, I bring out this "bad side" of religion mostly in the form of the character, Jim Bruiner. He is representative of an extreme, however, and I tried to show him in contrast with more tolerant characters. As I said, the Wise Path can be found and followed within most any religion. I'm not talking about doctrines here but about a spiritual communion that transcends doctrines, and A Single Step is very much about spirituality and faith.

Religion is so much a part of the traditional American Southern culture that it's practically impossible to set a story there without dealing with it. That religion is overwhelmingly Protestant and Puritanical, and it is clannish. Southern hospitality is only extended to those of like mind and appearance. Otherwise, it is often served up with heaps of disdain and hypocrisy.

The characters in A Single Step are based on people and attitudes I grew up with. I was very much into the Southern Baptist church and I knew many preachers and youth/music ministers like Wayne Finch and Jim Bruiner. They were very prideful in their place in the church and tolerated no disagreement. Their fear of demons and meditation was real. When the movie, The Exorcist came out, I overheard a youth minister offering to pay a teenager not to see it because he believed it invited demon possession.

The obsession with church attendance is also very real. When meeting a white, "middle-class" southerner, you have to avow some church attendance, else you are subjected to evangelical efforts that, if they don't result in your conversion, will result in your shunning.

Beyond bullying, martial arts, and religious intolerance, A Single Step touches on many other issues that I hope will prompt discussions among readers. There's the idea of the soul's liberation in nature. There's pacificism vs belligerence, crimes and forgiveness (especially self-forgiveness), and the natural world's closeness to the spiritual realms.

Probably the most intriguing idea in the story is of how much a human being can develop. Just how far can a person grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually? There are ancient traditions of advanced human beings that are the roots of the idea of the "superman" of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While these ideas have been twisted by some groups, still the question is valid. How far can we go in this life? The answer, I suspect, is "very far."

A Single Step follows the basic format of The Karate Kid movie and other bully-victim-learns-to-fight stories. While I love these stories and was inspired by them, I wanted my version to be slanted a bit differently. The Karate Kid is about learning to fight with a little philosophy thrown in. In such stories, I always thought the wise teachings were the most interesting parts, so A Single Step is about learning philosophy with a little fighting thrown in.

I wanted to write a bully-victim type of story to express my experience of the repression I suffered from being bullied and how cultural and religious mores didn't help. I wanted to contrast that state with the possibility of a better way through a faith based on spirituality as you find it (or as it finds you). A Single Step is the result.

So maybe you were a small kid pushed around by bigger kids. Maybe you're still pushed around by bosses or others above you in the hierarchy who build themselves up by tearing others down. The message of A Single Step is to "take heart" because your bullies are asleep and only spreading their nightmare. You can wake up and find that place of objectivity where bullies fear to tread. Your perspective will be changed, and you'll never see things the same.

You'll no longer be a victim.
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