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review 2018-02-18 15:19
Thought-provoking, Challenging, Uncomfortably Good
These fragile things - Jane Davis

Having recently enjoyed ‘A Funeral for an Owl’ by indie author Jane Davis (see review dated 2 Jan 2018), I dived further into her back catalogue and found this book (first published in 2012) and I’m delighted to report that the author’s accessible writing style again made for a really enjoyable read.


In particular, Davis does have a wonderful knack for developing interesting teenage characters and in this offering the central protagonist (Judy Jones) is recovering from a deliberately mundane, yet life-changing incident, in which a wall collapses on her. In fact her survival is positively miraculous. Still, the wall is a very effective metaphor for other constructs around self-image, relationships, indeed life and the book explores how susceptible to collapse these things can also be when buffeted by external, or self-made pressures. The stress-test that the human experience places on individuals, families and communities can be profound and the mechanisms created to defend one’s well-being can be elaborate, or at times blindingly simple. Though not meant to be a commentary on faith, Davis does at least invite the question whether spiritual faith and/or faith in each other aids the character’s ability to cope and navigate the unexpected, or whether the key is our shared humanity and the capacity for random acts of kindness.


For those readers with children, especially teenagers, there are interesting moments for reflection at the shifting nature of the parental relationship, but also a potentially visceral empathy with Judy’s parents and the impact of the kind of news for which we all live in a state of dread. But, if subsequently the child then purports to experience visions, how does one react to that?


At its core the book focuses on the experience of loss – of health, identity, belonging, an anticipated future - and the attendant bereavement. The interlacing of aspects of the characters’ individual and collective journeys is cleverly handled by the author, though for me the slightly bizarre departure from the rails of Elaine Jones (Judy’s Mum) was an unnecessary distraction. Yet, all-in-all a fascinating and thoughtful novel, which does emphasize the potential corrosion of loneliness, however it may be imposed.

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review 2018-01-28 07:09
Ghost Doll & Jasper by Fiona McDonald
Ghost Doll and Jasper by Fiona McDonald (2012-11-01) - Fiona McDonald

What happens when a broken doll is touched by stardust? She becomes a ghost doll, of course! The newly awakened Ghost Doll and her companion Jasper, a mangy black cat, set off in search of a safe place to live. But the city is new and dangerous territory for Ghost Doll (who fell asleep in quieter times). The noise and rush of traffic terrifies her, and as for the new style of toy—complete with computer chip and battery—she can’t think of anything worse. But there is something far more sinister and dangerous lurking in the city. Someone else witnessed the falling star and is anxious to get a hold of the fragment—and Ghost Doll—for his own evil purposes. How will Ghost Doll and Jasper escape their hunter and find a home where they both are safe and loved?





A speck of stardust falls from the sky, eventually coming to fall on a doll's head in an abandoned house, bringing her to life as "Ghost Doll". Ghost Doll is startled by all the loud noises she's now experiencing and mystified by modern toy dolls she meets who are filled with batteries and computer chips. Ghost Doll, along with her new friend, Jasper (a mangy black street cat), sets out across the city in search of a safe, quiet place she can call home. 


A safe home becomes even more of an urgency for Ghost Doll when it is revealed shortly after her metamorphosis that scientist / inventor Dr. Borsch witnessed where the stardust fell. He becomes consumed with this need to obtain the stardust for his experiments, so when he discovers it lies within Ghost Doll, he and his henchmen set out to capture her. 


I found the illustrations (also done by McDonald) to have something of a 1990s avant-garde flair to them. Made me a bit nostalgic for old newspaper comics I remember loving as a kid :-) Some of the drawings were pretty cute, others were a little TOO squiggle-heavy, making them hard to decipher. 


The plot itself was at times sweet, other times moving (especially when we get to know some of Ghost Doll's history as she starts to have memories of a little girl she belonged to once). I also really liked Jasper, who didn't seem physically tough but he was strong where it was important, in his soul. But in general, something about the story fell just a bit flat. I enjoyed the adventure while I was there, but I was sort of a passive passenger, not feeling a strong pull to return to this one in the future. 

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review 2017-11-30 18:38
Darkness Changes Nothing: “Replacement” by Tor Ulven
Replacement (Norwegian Literature) by Tor Ulven (2012-06-19) - Tor Ulven;Kerri A. Pierce

“There’s no point trying to tell yourself that darkness changes nothing; maybe she believes that, maybe she doesn’t, but in any case it’s wrong, because darkness happens, it fills a space, and it could also be full of something like the way a drawer is full of silverware, or the earth is full of insects that scatter in panic when you lift a rotten log, even though darkness could also be a balloon, a balloon filled with black air.”


In “Replacement” by Tor Ulven


Because of its brevity and yet countless fathoms-deep complexity coupled with what is not easy text I tend to consider “Replacement” as an example of a novel that sifts the casual reader from the committed enthusiast. In the same vein as “Heart of Darkness” by Conrad and “Wild Highway” by Bill Drummond & Mark Manning in terms of seriousness of theme in a small expertly packed parcel, but providing a rather more difficult text to engage with,“Replacement” is an significant novel on many levels.


“Replacement” carries a matching authorial mood of darkness that is perhaps the seeds of meta-fiction; you are aware that the style of the telling of the tale is intricately woven into the fabric of the tale itself. The clarity and simplicity of the authorial voices in the two books above-mentioned is not present and you, the reader, are called upon to grapple with the text as part of the experience the book is offering up. And it's a hell of a lot shorter than “Moby Dick”.



If you're into Mundane Fiction, read on.

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review 2017-10-02 03:11
Just you
Daniel's Christmas: Night Stalkers [Paperback] [2012] (Author) M L Buchman - M. L. Buchman

This is the 3rd book in The Night Stalkers series.  It is also known as # 1 in the Night Stalkers: White House series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  To avoid spoilers, and have a greater understanding of this acclaimed series, please read this series in order.


Daniel is White House Chief of Staff, and all that comes with it.  This keeps him too busy to have a personal life of any kind.  Lately, he wonders will he ever take the time for one?


Alice is an expert in her field.  She comes up with an important strategy the President needs to discuss with her.  This puts her right in Daniel's path.....


Such a quick paced and hot read.  Like all books in this series, your heart nearly jumps out of your chest reading.  Look for the advent calendar and some realIy romantic scenes!  I cannot wait to read more in this incredible series.  I give this a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***I received a free copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2017-07-18 18:29
Season for Surrender By Theresa Romain $1,99
Season for Surrender by Theresa Romain (2012-10-02) - Theresa Romain

Honor Among Rogues

Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation--for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party--and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible--he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver's protector. . .

Mischief Among Misses

Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier's invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues' gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring.

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