Many of you may have noticed it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. Apologies, but I’ve been so busy of late you wouldn’t believe. Then again, finding that perfect work/life balance isn’t always easy, is it? Especially when it comes to the ‘life’ part!
So what have I been up to lately? Well, there’s been loads of DIY going on in an attempt to make the house look more like a home and less like a project. Not that we’re undertaking a complete renovation, but the list of jobs that need doing to bring the place up to standard seems to be getting longer. It’s a bit like the more we do, the more we uncover. Aside of this I’ve been getting on with my latest novel, a book that continues to make me both laugh and cry as the story unfolds and all for the right reasons I might add. Plus I’ve been working on an exciting new collaboration – watch this space for news!
Amidst all of this, I’ve been trying to fit a bit of all important reading into my schedule. And because my reading time is limited at the moment, I’ve been delving into the world of novellas and short stories. Normally one to focus on full length novels, I’ve quite enjoyed the change. It’s clear short stories are an art in their own right, one of the reasons I thought it would be nice to share some of them with you today.
So here goes…
‘When Megan sees a photo of her rock star boyfriend Ryan with another girl, she dumps him and heads off to Sorrento on holiday. Unfortunately Ryan’s had exactly the same idea…’
I loved The Indecent Proposal by Louise Marley. Megan and Ryan are both funny, heart-warming and down to earth and thanks to the author’s skill, each of the supporting characters shine through too. It’s a humorous read with just the right amount of romance. Perfect escapism during a lunch or coffee break.
‘Alice is a researcher studying memory in elephants, and is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf – the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat, as long as she obeys one important rule: she must only observe and never interfere. Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Alice will risk her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love.’
Although a complete story in its own right, Larger Than Life introduces Alice, the unforgettable character at the centre of Jodi Picoult’s forthcoming novel, Leaving Time.
I really enjoyed Larger Than Life and actually felt sad when the story came to an end. I loved the way the author managed to weave past and present, linking Alice’s childhood experiences to what was happening in the here and now. It left me wanting to know more about Alice and what came next for her… Guess I shall just have to wait for Leaving Time later in the year.
‘In a small town in Northern California, the olives are ripening and the Keller women, a multigenerational family of firstborn daughters, are preparing to send their youngest, Erin, abroad. Although she worries about forsaking her family, she is compelled to take a chance at living her dream. A crisis the day before she is to leave makes Erin question her choice. Is it possible that before she can return to Hill House, she might lose one of her beloved grandmothers? Because, although she has three caretakers—Anna, her great-great-grandmother; Bets, her great-grandmother; and Callie, her grandmother—Erin has no mother. It is an absence keenly felt and never mentioned.’
Under the Olive Tree is Courtney Miller Santo’s prequel to The Roots of the Olive Tree. But unlike Jodi Picoult’s Larger than Life, this one left me disappointed. Introducing five generations of women in one go left me struggling to work out who was who and I had to keep referring back as I continued to read. Sadly, neither was it a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Yes, it’s a teaser to the full length novel, I would just have preferred it to be a complete story as well.
‘From Angelo Marcos, author of psychological thrillers ‘The Artist’ and ‘Sleep No More’, comes a collection of five thrilling short stories. Each tale explores the sinister side of human nature, as well as the lengths to which people will go to satisfy their darkest impulses.’
The Walk is a collection of thought provoking short stories. Dark and at times challenging, Angelo Marcos utilizes a range of characters and situations that force us to explore the darker side of human nature. Just enough to make me horrified without having nightmares, this book is as much about psychology as it is about action. I’d definitely recommend it.
‘Who Dares Dances is a reality TV show with a difference. Not only do contestants have to learn to dance, they also face a series of bizarre challenges. Julia Cooper signs up in a bid to revive her flagging acting career. But when she meets dare-devil TV presenter Harri Morgan the attraction is instant – and hot! Forced to perform a sexy rumba together, the sequins really start to fly. Will they score the perfect ten, or is their romance destined to be a dance disaster?’
I really, really enjoyed this novella, it had me smiling from start to finish. The characters jumped off the page and I loved the way they all interacted with each other. Could there have been more detail when it came to the dance routines? Maybe. But that aside, it’s a fun, witty read that left me slightly in love with Harri. Can’t believe I’ve just admitted that!
So, Guys, if you haven’t read them already I hope I’ve tempted you to try some of these short stories/novellas for yourselves. And if you have read them, what did you think?
Now it’s back to my current read, Jenna’s Journey by Julie Ryan. The first full length novel I’ve read in a while.
Until next time x