Sunday, 24 March 2019

The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack by H M Naqvi


The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack by H M Naqvi
Published by Grove Press on the 12th March 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Winner of the inaugural DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, H.M. Naqvi follows his critically-lauded debut Home Boy with The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack, an enthralling novel about one unforgettable and gloriously unaccomplished man, his impending death, and the history and life of his bustling, shape-shifting city.

Abdullah, bachelor and scion of a once prominent family, awakes on the morning of his seventieth birthday and considers launching himself over the balcony. Having spent years attempting to compile a "mythopoetic legacy" of his beloved Karachi, the cosmopolitan heart of Pakistan, Abdullah has lost his zeal. A surprise invitation for a night out from his old friend Felix Pinto snaps Abdullah out of his funk, and saddles him with a ward--Pinto's adolescent grandson Bosco. As Abdullah plays mentor to Bosco, he also attracts the romantic attentions of Jugnu, an enigmatic siren with links to the mob. All the while Abdullah's brothers' plot to evict him from the family estate. Now he must to try to save his home--or face losing his last connection to his familial past. Anarchic, erudite, and rollicking, with a septuagenarian protagonist like no other, The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack is a joyride of a story set against a kaleidoscopic portrait of one of the world's most vibrant cities.

Let me start this review by saying that I enjoyed spending time with Abdullah. The genre of elderly-men-looking-back stories can be rather hit and miss for me, but here I appreciated Abdullah's wry sense of humour and the way his first-person narration gives 'Currachee' a wonderful sense of life and energy. It felt refreshingly unusual to read about someone who never really made much of his life, but isn't bitter about it. I loved the warmth of his relationship with his young nephews. What failed for me in this book however was the overwhelming volume of footnotes. At times there are several irritating little numbers on a single page which each refer to a different section of tiny red font on another page. In a print book, with a finger marking each page, this might have been manageable. On my Kindle though, it swiftly became so annoying that I simply skipped most of the footnotes. Consequently I suppose I only therefore read about three-quarters of the book! I'm not going back in just to read the footnotes though.

The actual narrative line is a little confusing, possibly due to those missed footnotes, and I admit that The Selected Works Of Abdullah The Cossack probably suffered in being the book I read right right after The Old Drift. While The Selected Works isn't a bad novel at all, it just didn't have such an innovative spark. Writing this a day after finishing, elements of the story and characters are already fading from my mind which is a shame as the jazz club settings particularly are still memorably strong.


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Books by H M Naqvi / Contemporary fiction / Books from Pakistan

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee


Life, and Other Dreams by Richard Dee
Published by 4Star Scifi on the 15th February 2019.


Add Life And Other Dreams to your Goodreads

Rick lives here on Earth now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly. In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.

Dan has no dreams about Rick’s life, he lives on Ecias, loves his life and Vanessa.

When the two worlds overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up. Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.

Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, in two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?

Richard Dee's fast-paced, edgy science fiction -cum- psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!


Meet the author

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon. He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986. Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, working as a Marine Insurance Surveyor and as Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as HMS Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.

Richard is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. Sequels to Ribbonworld and The Rocks of Aserol have been published, together with a second Andorra Pett story, Andorra Pett on Mars. He also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection. Richard is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.

You can find out more about Richard on his website. Head over there to see what he gets up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about his work and pick up a free novel or short story.

Author links: 
Website ~ FacebookTwitter




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Books by Richard Dee / Thrillers / Books from England

Friday, 22 March 2019

The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell


The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell
Published in the UK by Vintage yesterday, the 21st March 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. Here begins the epic story of a small African nation, told by a mysterious swarm-like chorus that calls itself man’s greatest nemesis. The tale? A playful panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction. The moral? To err is human.

In 1904, in a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives – their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes – form a symphony about what it means to be human.

From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines – this gripping, unforgettable novel sweeps over the years and the globe, subverting expectations along the way. Exploding with colour and energy, The Old Drift is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.

The Old Drift is the first Zambian-authored novel I have read and, now enthused by Serpell's inventiveness and vision, I can't wait to discover more! This certainly won't be a novel to appeal to all readers, but if, as I did, you loved One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Where The Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky, you will probably adore The Old Drift. Serpell tells the story of a nation from 1904 until the 2020s through the interweaving lives of numerous people. Her tale begins as historical fiction, slides into magical realism, plays around with notions of ancient Greek choruses, and finishes with a science fiction flourish. And I thought it all melded together brilliantly!

It is sometimes difficult to keep track of the characters' varying connections and relationships, but I didn't feel this was necessarily a problem because I appreciated my 'aha' moments when I would suddenly realise how the current protagonist warranted their focus. Perhaps a sibling, or an aunt, or a lover to someone we met twenty years ago (in the previous chapter!) Characters such as Sibilla, who is swathed in her own hair, or former afronaut Matha, who has cried constantly for decades, are vividly drawn and I am sure will be memorable. Serpell's women lead the way through this story in a very real way. I actually loved reading as much about their occasional menstrual mishaps as about the world-changing events in which they participate. For a literary fiction author to present her women in such an authentic way felt wonderfully liberating and inspiring to me. In fact, had I got the call to a SOTP rally today, I'd have run all the way there!

Serpell's blending of genres felt fresh. I am in awe of her storytelling talent and the clarity she achieves in what is a complicated narrative. I thought the inclusion of the Chorus was an interesting idea. It allows the reader a moment to relax every now and then, but also provides a framework for both the stories and their underlying philosophy. This was especially effective for me because the Chorus' message felt like it resounded so well with my own lifestyle: don't stagnate, but don't rush around either. Take the time to drift!


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Books by Namwali Serpell / Historical fiction / Books from Zambia

Thursday, 21 March 2019

The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton + Excerpt


The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton
Published by HQ Digital on the 21st February 2019.


Add The Pieces of You and Me to your Goodreads

They say time can heal all wounds…

When Jess and Rupert parted ways, it was the end of a great love story that might have been. Now ten years later, the very different paths they have taken in life will bring them back together for a chance meeting.

But with so much left unsaid about the break up neither ever recovered from and with each keeping their own devastating secrets, will they finally be able to make the fractured pieces of their love for one another whole again?


Excerpt

This scene is the morning after Jess’s best friend Gemma’s wedding. Gemma invited Rupert to the wedding – the first time the couple had met properly after bumping into each other in a pub in York a few weeks earlier…

‘He kissed you!’ Gemma asked, eyes wide open, hangover forgotten.
‘Well technically we kissed each other,’ I said. ‘But I think he started it.’
‘I want all the details,’ Gemma said.
‘Gemma, listen,’ I replied. ‘I’m so sorry I didn’t come back to the reception last night. I should have let you know I was going to bed at least.’
‘Oh to hell with that.’ She grinned at me. ‘Just tell me everything that’s going on with you and Tremayne.’
‘Let her have some privacy, Gem,’ Caitlin said kindly.
‘Well are you seeing him again?’ Gemma asked.
‘I don’t know,’ I said quietly. The initial euphoria of the kiss was beginning to wear off and the reality of the situation was starting to hit me. What was happening? Where would it go? Could we really salvage what we used to have, particularly as neither of us had broached the subject of why we split up in the first place? I’d been thinking about “what if?” for years and yet now it was here I had no idea what to do with it.

Meet the author

Rachel Burton is the author of the international ebook bestseller The Many Colours of Us.

Rachel spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire with her fiance and their three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday....

Author links: 
BlogInstagram ~ FacebookTwitter ~ Pinterest




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Books by Rachel Burton / Women's Fiction / Books from England

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women by Sarah Bargiela and Sophie Standing


Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women by Sarah Bargiela and Sophie Standing
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers tomorrow, the 21st March 2019.

C for my 2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge reads and a 2019 New Release Challenge read

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Autism in women and girls is still not widely understood, and is often misrepresented or even overlooked. This graphic novel offers an engaging and accessible insight into the lives and minds of autistic women, using real-life case studies.

The charming illustrations lead readers on a visual journey of how women on the spectrum experience everyday life, from metaphors and masking in social situations, to friendships and relationships and the role of special interests.

Fun, sensitive and informative, this is a fantastic resource for anyone who wishes to understand how gender affects autism, and how to create safer supportive and more accessible environments for women on the spectrum.

I love reading in order to discover more about the world around me and also to discover more about myself. I often find myself questioning how I would react if I were to experience fictional situations in novels or genuine ones in memoirs and biographies. Occasionally, I don't get the chance to ponder though. A book will figuratively smack me between the eyes and I'll just know it's talking about me. The last book to do that was Susan Cain's Quiet. Now Camouflage has had exactly the same effect. This is me!

I chose Camouflage from NetGalley because when I saw it was a graphic novel about autistic women I realised that I couldn't actually think of a single one. I recall several novels with male characters on the autism spectrum, but women? It turns out that, much like heart attacks I think, women generally experience autism in a more low-key way to men and so our symptoms are often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. In this short book women briefly explain how they came to realise that they were autistic, how the condition has been a hindrance or sometimes a benefit, and how they have learned to mask their symptoms especially in social situations. So much of this is very Very familiar!

I would have loved for Camouflage to have been a longer and more in depth book. However that isn't its intended purpose so I will need to look for further reading on the subject. Here, instead, we get a stunningly illustrated introduction to female autism. Sophie Standing's drawings raise the book to the standard of a graphic novel, although it is definitely nonfiction, and I loved her almost vintage style. This is a beautiful little book and one that I am particularly grateful to have encountered.


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Books by Sarah Bargiela and Sophie Standing / Graphic Novels / Books from America and England

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The True Queen by Zen Cho


The True Queen by Zen Cho
Published in the UK by Pan Macmillan on Thursday, the 21st March 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Fairyland’s future lies in doubt . . .

The enchanted island of Janda Baik, in the Malay Archipelago, has long been home to witches. And Muna and her sister Sakti wake on its shores under a curse, which has quite stolen away their memories. Their only hope of salvation lies in distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal runs a controversial academy for female magicians. But the pair travel via the formidable Fairy Queen’s realm, where Sakti simply disappears.

To save her sister, Muna must learn to navigate Regency London’s high society and trick the English into believing she’s a magical prodigy. But when the Sorceress Royal’s friends become accidentally embroiled in a plot – involving the Fairy Queen’s contentious succession – Muna is drawn right in. She must also find Sakti, break their curse and somehow stay out of trouble. But if fairyland’s true queen does finally return, trouble may find her first . . .

The True Queen is Zen Cho's spelling binding second book. It's set in a sparkling version of Regency London, with a fairy tale twist. And although it's set in the same world as her award-winning novel, The Sorcerer to the Crown, this reads as a standalone.

Unsurprisingly for me, I hadn't read Zen Cho's first Sorcerer To The Crown novel before launching in to The True Queen so I am fortunate that this second book doesn't require readers to have any previous knowledge. I understand that the stories take place within the same world and there is some overlap of characters, but I never felt as though I had missed out on anything by picking up The True Queen first. Indeed I am now tempted to treat myself to The Sorcerer To The Crown!

The True Queen takes place as much in magical locations as in Malay or English ones. I appreciated Cho's deft descriptive writing which allowed me to clearly envisage the places in which our characters found themselves, however I never felt any slackening of pace as we looked around. There are enchanted forests, dank caves and the vast Fairy Court Palace as well as the 'real' places: Muna's Janda Baik island home and the bustle of Regency London. I was less convinced by the historical setting than the magical locations, perhaps because I have read quite a lot of Regency stories over the years - Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer for example - and, while I can't put my finger on anything specifically anachronistic, I sometimes felt as though the language and behaviours in The True Queen were more suited to a later period.

That said, I enjoyed spending time with Muna, Sakti and the characters surrounding them. I worked out the solution to their predicament fairly early on, but that didn't detract from the intricacies of their journey. I think fans of Vered Ehsani's Society For Paranormals series would appreciate reading The True Queen (and Zen Cho fans might like to give Ehsani's books a try!)


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Zen Cho / Fantasy fiction / Books from Malaysia

Monday, 18 March 2019

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite


My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
First published in Nigeria as Thicker Than Water by Qamina in 2017. Republished as My Sister The Serial Killer by Atlantic Books in November 2018.

How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede's long been in love with him, and isn't prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other...

I loved My Sister, The Serial Killer! Braithwaite's sharp, snappy prose creates vivid atmospheric scenes in just a couple of sentences and I could clearly imagine all her characters from obsessively cleaning Korede to perpetually dozing Yinka. For such a dark story - we now have Nigerian Noir to complete with Scandi Noir - My Sister, The Serial Killer is very funny. The combination of Braithwaite's entertaining humour and short chapters meant that this novel zipped past and I was disappointed to realise I had finished it in just a few hours. I could have happily spent longer with Korede and her sister Ayoola.

Blithe serial killer Ayoola is a fascinating invention and I will be very surprised if her story doesn't reappear as a film version within the next few years. Seemingly unaware of the implications of her actions and incapable of taking responsibility, she flits from one man to the next, always relying on her beauty to save the day. And on her sister of course. Korede and Ayoola are strikingly different physically but I felt both were equally as damaged by the domestic abuse they witnessed and experienced in childhood. Ayoola might be the actual murderer, but is Korede any less culpable for continuing to facilitate her sister's actions. Obviously enabling a sibling to repeatedly commit murder is wrong, but where should the line be drawn between protecting one's family from the world and protecting the world from one's family?

I'm delighted to have discovered Oyinkan Braithwaite. I'd recommend My Sister The Serial Killer to a wide readership and look forward to reading more of her storytelling in the future.


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Books by Oyinkan Braithwaite / Crime fiction / Books from Nigeria

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Empires of Dust by Jiang Zilong


Empires of Dust by Jiang Zilong
First published in Chinese as Peasant Empire in China in 2008. English language translation by Christopher Payne and Olivia Milburn published by Sinoist Books on the 11th March 2019.

2019 New Release Challenge read

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


When making coffins is the best business in town, what hope is there for tomorrow?

Amidst the maelstrom of Communist China's rocky beginnings, Guojiadian, a tiny hamlet situated on salty ground in the rural northeast where nothing grows, must forge a path through the turbulence - both physical and political - threatening to return the windswept village to the dust from which it emerged.

Amongst the long-suffering village inhabitants lives Guo Cunxian, a man of rare ability trapped in an era of limitations. His quest for a better future for him and his family pits him against the jealousy of his peers, the indifference of his superiors and even the seemingly cursed earth upon which he resides.

In a decades-long journey filled with frustration and false starts, they eventually rise to dizzy heights built upon foundations as stable as the dust beneath their feet and the mud walls which shelter them.

But will their sacrifices along this tortuous path be in vain…?

If I had realised quite how long a book Empires Of Dust was going to be, I probably would not have requested a review copy from NetGalley. Its 1256 pages equals about four of my usual sized reads and makes it the longest book I think I have ever read, beating my previous record, Iran: A Modern History, by a good 200 pages! Being unused to such epically proportioned epics did influence my enjoyment of Empires Of Dust so please bear this is mind as you read my review.

Jiang Zilong follows one man's life from the Great Leap Forward over a period of several decades, using his political, social and economic experiences to illustrate the massive changes that occurred in rural China during the second half of the twentieth century. The novel features a large cast of characters and I occasionally lost track of some of them, but generally Jiang does a good job of differentiating or at least dropping enough clues to aid successful identification. The story is told in two parts, the first of which has Guo Cunxian as our hero and the second of which unravels the darker side of his meteoric rise. Personally I could have done with the first half being significantly condensed as it did often seem to drag on somewhat. I was never tempted to actually stop reading though because I wanted to know how everything would turn out. Empires Of Dust gives fascinating insights into Chinese life during this period. Many issues are addressed, most of them directly related to the horrendous poverty endured by generations of villagers. I would recommend this novel to readers interested in Asian fiction and historical sagas, especially those who aren't intimidated by Big Books!


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Books by Jiang Zilong / Historical fiction / Books from China

Saturday, 16 March 2019

My Name Is Rose by Alexa Kingaard + #Giveaway + Excerpt


My Name Is Rose by Alexa Kingaard
Published by Acorn Publishing on the 22nd February 2019.


Add My Name Is Rose to your Goodreads

Rose is unsettled, curious, and bored. Life in a hippie commune is her parents' dream come true, not hers. She doesn't share their passion for living off the land, nor does she enjoy the isolation that is thrust upon her. When she convinces them to send her to public school in the nearby town, a new world opens up to her. As she pursues her education, Rose chooses a different path, leaving her parents heartbroken at her insistence they are hiding something from her. She's convinced her father isn't the man her mother married. Although she finds love far away from her roots and upbringing, her wounds only deepen as she keeps her family at arm's length. What she loses during those years can only be retrieved with her understanding that "a Rose by any other name is still a Rose."



Excerpt

… I cut short my self-guided tour of college student filled apartment houses by the university and looked for the next entrance onto the freeway. I was a pretty good driver, having mastered a stick shift and parallel parking on the old truck at the commune. Still, I dreaded the drive into the city and the cramped streets, steep inclines, and lousy parking options in Grandmother’s neighborhood.
There was no such thing as a garage in those old Victorian homes and finding a nearby, open space on the street always proved to be a problem. People who grew up there had long gotten used to the inconvenience, but occasional visitors like myself experienced frustration and annoyance. It would be my luck that I would have to heave my belongings two blocks, if I was lucky enough to find a space at all.
As I turned the corner to the now familiar street, perched at the top of a steep decline into the city below, my breath suddenly stilled at the spectacular panoramic view before me. Even though the day had turned dull and the mist hovered over the Golden Gate Bridge, I was surrounded by brilliant architecture in every direction. Dozens of charming Victorian homes, the painted ladies, lined the streets in both directions, punctuated by corner markets and one-of-a-kind specialty shops. It was a testament to the influence on the history of California and the discerning eye of the builders who prompted the city’s growth. No wonder Andrew had chosen this ambition for his life’s work. I caught myself thinking about a wedding, then a sweet little first apartment, then one child, making our cramped quarters impossible for a growing family, then a move to the suburbs, neighborhood barbeques, another child, two cars….my mind raced and the light turned green.
My fantasy warmed me. I could physically feel joy in the pit of my stomach. I asked Destiny once, after we had gotten an almost-new pair of identical boots from the thrift store as a special treat before we started third grade, “Do you feel that, Des?”
“Feel what?” She hadn’t the vaguest idea of what I meant.
“That dancing in your tummy, silly! It’s like your insides are giggling.”
It felt delicious to me and ever since that time, a happy moment or extraordinary event could trigger my sense of well-being. My whole body would tingle with pleasure and delight with that feeling of joy.
I didn’t mind driving around the block four times before I found a place to park. I grabbed one suitcase, my wallet, keys, and bounded up Grandmother’s stairs, only slightly winded from the short sprint. I met her at the door with a huge grin, amused at my own story of happily ever after.
“You look flushed, Rose. Did you run all the way here?”
“I didn’t notice. I do feel a little warm, but I think I’m just excited to have finals over, spend the summer with Glory and River, and take a week off with you to do whatever we want. I’m excited about seeing Destiny, too. It’s been almost a year. I had to miss her wedding, because she planned it right in the middle of winter mid-terms, and her first baby is the end of summer.”
“Well, first things first.”
What did that mean? First things first? I was starting to see how generations change, each subsequent one holding on to the popular expressions that conveyed their thoughts. What was first to Grandmother was most likely not what was first to me, which was kicking off my shoes and checking the refrigerator for a Dr. Pepper.
“Yes, Grandmother, first things first.”
“Take off your coat and hang it on the hall tree. Your room is ready, so you can take your suitcase upstairs. Then, come on down and get yourself a cold drink. I got plenty of Dr. Pepper just for you.”
I smiled. We weren’t that far apart after all.

Meet the Author 

Alexa Kingaard was born in San Diego, CA and has lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of an adult son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders. A realtor for fifteen years, she remains involved with her profession and praises her brokers and clients for giving her the nod to be creative. She gives all the credit for completing her debut novel, KEEP FOREVER, to her inspiration and late ex-husband, Jeff, who battled the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return. Her second novel, MY NAME IS ROSE, will be released through Acorn Publishing March 15, 2019.

Author links:
WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prize is a $20 Amazon gift card.
Open Internationally until the 21st March.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Books by Alexa Kingaard / Young adult fiction / Books from America

Friday, 15 March 2019

One By One: A Memoir of Love and Loss in the Shadows of Opioid America by Nicholas Bush + #Giveaway


One by One: A Memoir of Love and Loss in the Shadows of Opioid America by Nicholas Bush

Category: Adult Nonfiction, 245 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Apollo Publishers
Release date: November 2018
Tour dates: Feb 25 to March 22, 2019
Content Rating: R (due to scenes of drug abuse)

Add One By One to your Goodreads


In ONE by ONE: A Memoir of Love and Loss in the Shadows of Opioid America, author Nicholas Bush opens up about his adolescent years in suburban Wisconsin as a heroin addict.

Thanks to drugs, Nicholas ended up in a military school against his will where his back was broken, literally. He was in and out of jail five times, homeless, held at gunpoint, robbed, had his apartment ransacked (more than once), and was in rehab twice. His memoir passionately shares the losses he suffered: five of his loved ones died from heroin overdoses, including two who were shot to death. Most tragic of all, drugs killed two of his three siblings: his older sister Allison and his baby brother Austin.

Offering a personal perspective on our opioid epidemic and a rare survivor story, Bush tells all about what drew and drove him to drugs, what his habit cost him, and how he found salvation. He also makes a compelling case against treating and punishing heroin users like criminals. “People locked in the vise grip of addiction are still just that: people,” Bush stresses.



About the Author:




NICHOLAS BUSH is a reformed drug addict devoted to helping people battling addiction in halfway houses and prisons. He has written several articles related to opioid addiction for PBS and the Johns Hopkins Medical Journal, and wrote an Op-Ed piece for USA Today. He grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife and two daughters.

Enter the Giveaway!
Win a print copy of One by One by Nicholas Bush
(5 winners / open to USA only)
Ends March 29, 2019





Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Nicholas Bush / Biography and memoir / Books from America

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Fox Halt Farm by Celia Moore + #Giveaway + Excerpt


Fox Halt Farm by Celia Moore
Self published on the 1st November 2017.

Fox Halt is on a £1.99 promotion until 12th April 2019!


Add Fox Halt Farm to your Goodreads

Opening on a cliff edge, Billy finds herself alone and betrayed. She believes everyone and everything she loves is threatened. Richard’s world is aglow with wealth, love and unswerving family loyalty but then his perfect life crosses Billy’s. He could save Billy, her beloved dairy cows and Fox Halt Farm but this young woman isn’t in the mood to be rescued.
Nothing will stay the same. Should they trust each other? Will their secrets tear their lives apart?
Fox Halt Farm is hard to put down. The story cracks along and you are caught up in Celia Moore’s vivid storytelling from the start.  If you love novels by Jill Mansell, Fiona Valpy, Lucinda Riley, Maeve Binchy and Danielle Steel you will love this novel too!


Excerpt 

Billy is eighteen-years-old in 1986, when the novel Fox Halt Farm opens on a cliff edge. She is alone on a remote Greek island far away from her Devon home, betrayed, believing everyone and everything she loves is threatened. 
At this same time, Richard’s world is aglow with wealth, love and unswerving family loyalty but then his perfect life crosses Billy’s. He could save Billy and her beloved Fox Halt Farm but this young woman isn’t in the mood to be rescued.  
The consequences of their unexpected meeting play out over two decades with Billy and Richard’s lives rippling in parallel (sometimes touching) in their contrasting worlds.
But should they be together? Should they trust each other? Or will their secrets tear their lives apart.

Here is the opening chapter:

Chapter 1: Paros, Greece - July 1986 - Richard MarcFenn
Janette stares up at the steep climb to our honeymoon hotel. She doesn’t grumble but I’m sure she wishes she wasn’t still wearing her million-dollar heels never intended for this terrain. I’m exhausted too, the journey here was so much longer than we expected, and leaving straight from our wedding was a mistake.
‘Did you see that?’ I look back at her.
‘No. What, Richard?’ she replies, her focus still on the ground.
‘Something, or someone just fell off that cliff.’ I point to a jagged headland a little distance away. ‘I’ve got to see,’ I say, already charging ahead.
On the cliff edge, I scan the unfamiliar shoreline far below, but all I see is sand and sea. I am sure I saw something fall from here.
A haunting laugh? My eyes search again, desperately hunting the source of the ghostly sound. As I make out an indistinct shape on the beach, my pulse quickens. My heart pumps blood too fast around my body, and then I mouth a horrified question to myself. ‘Is it a child?’
Looking up, I see Janette is now standing on the veranda with two others. She stares back at me, swiping away loose strands of hair from her face. Her companions are either side of my petite wife; one is a much taller European woman with a pregnant bump, and the other a young man, probably an islander. I shout at them, but they don’t hear.
When they do understand me, the man nods towards a steep path leading to the beach. ‘I come with you,’ he barks before yelling at Janette. ‘Get someone with boat there.’
 ‘Okay, Kostas,’ the pregnant woman replies quickly. Her tone making me suspect she is upset with him.
Janette comes towards me. ‘Richard, the path looks precarious,’ she says, her doe eyes widening.
‘Stay,’ I tell her. ‘I’ll be back soon, I just need to see if someone needs help down there.’
 ‘Be careful, love.’
 ‘I’ll be fine.’ I kiss her on the cheek. ‘I love you.’

Billy May
As a girl, my earliest memory is snuggling into the warm, scratchy folds of my grandfather’s worn-out jumper while he told me magical tales about the curious creatures that lived on Fox Halt Farm. He knows so much about nature that he wove strands of truth into the wondrous adventures.
I remember how Grandad explained why the villainous goblin known around the world as the Butterfly Catcher, found it hard to capture his victims. He said it was because insects see things differently to humans. It was all about their time perception. Grandad explained how scientists had a theory called ‘Flicker Frequency,’ which said the eyes of tiny creatures can process more flickers of light than humans so they see in slow motion. The butterflies of Fox Halt Farm always escaped the hobgoblin, no matter how carefully he crept up on them.
As usual, the clever man made his explanation fun. He would have been a brilliant teacher or an artist. Grandad explained using a flick book that he made me, one where he drew on each page, a slightly different image of a horse, its rider and a jump. When he let me flick the book, I saw the horse and rider go over the jump. My grandfather said that if he had made a special flick book for a butterfly then it would have required loads more pages with tinier differences to make the movement realistic for the wary insect.
I have developed Grandad’s theory through eighteen years of experiments; unintentional study because it involves falling off ponies mainly, and have concluded that in times of peril, humans see in slow motion too. We don't realise this because we have such cushy lives these days. I believe humans evolved with this same flickering time perception and this is why Homo sapiens survived. For example, if a starving sabre-toothed tiger pounced on one of our cave-dwelling ancestors they would have had time to dodge its greedy grasp, and this survival instinct is still buried deep in us all today.
I think this because when I have fallen off my horse or accidentally crashed off the top of the hay stacked high in the barn, and for example, when I did a parachute jump with Tom last year, everything slowed down. Each second for an onlooker would be a whole minute for me. I have experienced lots of moments of danger and they’ve all been in slow motion. Time to think and time to plan.
Dad says if I nose-dive off my horse I must try to land in a forward roll, so I won’t hurt myself, and when I fall, I usually have plenty of time to curl up in a ball. I have only injured myself badly a couple of times. The occasion I remember most is nearly winning the open show jumping at Okehampton Show, but I came off after the last fence; just before the timing clock, losing the cup to Tom’s older sister. I broke my collarbone that time. Nonetheless, I’m sure, when your life is threatened, time slows. People say your life flashes before you, don’t they?
This will be my last experiment and it is following my reasoning. Time ticks by as I plummet down the cliff, and my brain processes every detail. I see each piece of gravelly rock pass slowly upwards. I pick out tiny flowers surviving in crevices. Now I imagine the rich summer grass at Fox Halt Farm and my favourite cow, Deidre, wrapping her long pink tongue around the succulent stems. I see my hardworking mother encouraging the greedy animal to stop munching because she needs to get her, and the rest of our black and white Friesian herd, into fresh pasture. Mum will have another twenty jobs to do after this. 
I watch a dark shape on the sand below me grow bigger. The shape morphs into a partial rowing boat, some of its timbers buried in the sand. The half-sunken wreck was once vibrant yellow but now most of the original colour has flaked off and its frame is holey. Inside, I make out a messy tangle of nets and ropes. 
I won't prepare for this landing, content with my flat seagull-like approach. I will land face down on the boat and that will be fine.
Thud!
Thoughts and senses jam. 
Twisting. Tearing.
Pain screams through my body and bile spews from my mouth.
Torturous pain in my ankle, leg and stomach. 
Overwhelming taste of blood. 
Shivering.
Silence.
An orange glow fills my vision. I’m happy… but now I realise I am seeing through the skirt of my tangerine coloured dress. I laugh, realising how the bright light they say you see when you are dying is a myth after all, because I’m sure I am about to die.
My eyes shut. 
We are naked in the waves, the two of us laughing together in a sea of flickering diamonds.



Meet the author

Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.

Author links: 
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