To All Book Reviewers – A Thank You

Thank you

Writing book reviews is tough. It doesn’t matter whether it is a couple of lines and a rating, or a well thought out essay, it takes effort for a reviewer to translate all the emotions and experiences they’ve just felt and translate it into something concise, considered and heartfelt. Many authors complain about how difficult it is to write a plot synopsis or promotional blurb, but it can be just as difficult for reviewers to condense everything they’ve experienced, complete with explanation and reasoning, into a few paragraphs. And then there is the worry about the reaction. Every author understands the anxiety of letting their work go, wondering if people will love or hate what they’ve written, but it is exactly the same for a reviewer, especially if they didn’t enjoy the work they are reviewing.

Some, lucky few, get paid to review books, but most book reviewers do it for free. And this is important for authors to remember. The vast majority of reviews are written out of a love of books.

For indie authors especially, reviews are our lifeblood. Without reviews, nobody would know we exist. Without reviews, few would take a chance on an unknown author regardless of how tempting the blurb or cover. Yet we often view reviews as an item to attain, rather than the end product of an experience. We understand the value of having multiple reviews next to our books and sometimes struggle – in our desire to obtain more – to remember that what we are really asking is for our readers to share their personal, intimate feelings to the world, readers who often have no idea where to start when it comes to writing a review.

And then there are the small number of authors who make reviewing a chore, or even worse a trial. Those authors who pester reviewers, believing reviews should be theirs by right because they have published a book. The authors who see a critique of their work as an attack on them as a person. Negative reviews can be painful but they come with the territory because nobody has written a universally popular book. Those authors who go to extreme lengths to defend their book after a bad review, their actions preventing many from posting negative reviews for fear of retribution, destroying the credibility of the review system on which the majority of us rely.

Some counter this by complaining about trolling, negative reviews written out of spite, complaining they unfairly skew a book’s rating. But these, while incredibly hurtful, aren’t common, and are balanced by the overly favourable reviews by friends in their desire to help an author out – and I’ve yet to hear an author complain about those.

The vast majority of book reviews reflect a reviewer’s honest reaction having read a book. It is the truth. A truth that is just as valid as the truth the author intended when they wrote their book. In fact it is possibly more true, because as authors we know that as much as we try, we can never truly convey the full experience we see in our heads through mere words. What the reviewer experiences, as every reader, is how well we’ve managed to do that, all through the own personal lens of what makes a good book. We don’t have to agree with the reviewer but we should always respect their opinion.

So, to anyone who reads this who has ever written a review, I thank you.

To every person who has written a glowing review, I thank you.

To anyone who took the time to write a review about a book that neither moved or disappointed them, I thank you.

To everyone who has written a review that contains criticism, whether you were pointing out small issues in a book you enjoyed, or major failings, I thank you.

To every person who has written a review to explain exactly why you detested a book, I thank you.

To everybody who overcame their discomfort and wrote a couple of lines on Amazon or Goodreads after reading a book, I thank you.

To the people who write reviews each time they finish a book, I thank you.

To the person who just wrote their first ever review, I thank you.

To authors who take the time to read and review the work of their peers, especially those who write both positive and negative reviews, overcoming their own fears of revenge reviews, I thank you.

To those who run magazines, e-zines and anyone else who gets paid to review books and promote the art you love, I thank you.

And finally, to book bloggers, who invest so much of their time to write about the thing they love, often despite experiencing the less attractive side of our industry through authors demanding a review or reacting furiously to a negative review, I thank you.

 

Do you like intelligent thrillers? If so, join my mailing list and get one of my 5-star rated near-future dystopian thrillers absolutely free. The mailing list is guaranteed spam free and I will only contact you if I have a new book launch or an exclusive short story to share. To sign up, please click here. 

Recommended Reads: The Embers of Hope by Nick Jones

Embers of Hope

The Embers of Hope is the second book in the Hibernation series. You can read my review of the first, The Whisper of Stars, here. Warning: this review contains spoilers for the Whisper of Stars, so if you don’t wish to know how that ends, stop reading now.

The Blurb

After narrowly escaping the Shiryaevo Vault, Nathan O’Brien is on the run, adapting to life without Jennifer Logan. In his possession: a powerful mind control device known as the Histeridae and evidence of the Hibernation Program’s true agenda.

Beginning with George Mohanty and his words ‘Death is a relative term’, he must unravel the mystery of the Histeridae. But Nathan is on borrowed time, trapped inside a body that was never supposed to last. Can he bring back the woman he loves and expose the truth before it’s too late, or will the past finally catch up with him?

From the mountains of India to the futuristic streets of London and Dubai, The Embers of Hope is the thrilling second instalment in the Hibernation saga.

It features conspiracy theories, romance and intrigue and is set in a dystopian world, making it an ideal read for any fans of the sci-fi genre and also suitable for a young adult audience.

The Review

In The Embers of Hope we follow Nathan O’Brien, paranoid, alone and grieving following the death of Jennifer Logan. He is still living with George Mohanty, the only person he knows who has any knowledge of the Histeridae. Haunted by the phrase “death is relative” he finally gets George to talk, revealing that it wasn’t him who said the words, but somebody called Victor Reyland. But Reyland is a dangerous man, the man behind the Histeridae programme, a man happy to sacrifice others to meet his goals. Can this man help O’Brien bring back Jennifer?

While The Embers of Hope carries on directly from the excellent, The Whisper of Stars, it is a slightly different book. The pace is a little slower, a little more introspective, matching the more considered approach of Nathan O’Brien as he undertakes his task. Where action was high on the agenda of its precursor, in The Embers of Hope, intrigue takes centre stage. We get to learn more about the history behind the Histeridae, and how Jennifer Logan became caught up in the conspiracy. At the same time we learn more about the reason the Histeridae is so important, and a secret that affects the future of humanity.

I really enjoyed this book. While the action levels were reduced, I still found myself racing through the book as Jones expertly revealed the truth behind everything with a steady drip of information. At the start I worried that O’Brien on his own wouldn’t be a strong enough character to carry the novel, but Jones manages this cleverly through the introduction of new characters as well as fleshing out those familiar from The Whisper of Stars. This was especially well done with Zido Zitagi, whose world becomes ever less certain the more she learns about her organisation’s purpose. And while the ending is naturally open ended, there was enough closure to keep me satisfied. I just can’t wait to find out what happens next.

If you enjoy near-future, dystopian thrillers, you should definitely read this excellent series. Highly Recommended.

To buy The Embers of Hope from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy The Embers of Hope from Amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Guest Post: Grá mo Chroí by Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty

If you’re looking for a great Valentine’s Day gift, either for your partner or to treat yourself, then what better than a collection of love stories from Irish myth from the wonderful Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty, and best of all it’s free! Anyway, rather than have me go on about it, who better than the authors themselves to explain more about it…

 

Thank you Dylan for letting Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty (that’s us) use your blog today so we can tell you all about Grá mo Chroí, our joint adventure into the retelling of some of the great love stories from Irish myth.

 Grá mo Chroí

‘Love of my Heart’

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Love Stories from Irish Myth

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Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty are writers with a shared heritage. Ali has woven that heritage into the fabric of her stories about Conor Kelly and his adventures in the Otherworld. Jane consistently slips references to the old stories and the old heroes into all of her novels.

This collection of retellings of some of the great love stories from Irish mythology is our tribute to this culture which has so captivated us. Love in the Iron Age, as you will see, did not have the benefit of Disney. The Ancient Irish had to contend with far more violence than modern lovers, and their ideas of what constituted happiness were not necessarily the same as ours. An Irish princess was not going to languish at the top of an ivory tower waiting for a knight in shining armour. She was much more likely to get on her horse and drag him out of his bed with a curse if he hung about too long. But in many ways, love through the ages has not changed one iota. Grief, sorrow and passion are all there in spadesful.

If the only thing you know about Irish mythology is Saint Patrick, serpents, and Leprechauns, it’s about time you read this collection. If you like what you see, this could be the start of a life changing experience.

Here is a short excerpt from the first story in the collection, The tragedy of Bailé and Aillinn.

Bailé, the soft-spoken, left Emain Macha in the north to meet Aillinn, his betrothed. Rare was such a wedding host, and uncommonly joyful. For the king of Ulster’s only son and the daughter of the king of Leinster had made a love match. Even the sun shone bright on Bailé’s journey, the hounds danced and milled about the horses’ legs, fancy bridle bits sang silver songs in the wind, and the company was filled with joy. 

Bailé left behind his own lands of Ulster, the blue lochs and gorse-yellow hills where the eagles cried. Before him, beyond the purple peaks of home, lay the low, wooded hills and the rich plains of Leinster. He saw his Aillinn in the contours of the hills, in the white plumage of the swans on the river. She was soft as new grass and spring foals, wild as the March wind, and generous as the blackbird singing to the world. His heart was full of joy that soon they would be wed and their union would bind together her rich beauty of soft hills and birdsong, and his wild majesty of the eagle and the red deer.

If you like the sound of the world of the ancient Irish, treat yourself to a little Celtic romance for Valentine’s Day. You can get Grá mo Chroí here

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Normal price 99c/ 99p FREE Wed 11th Feb – Sun 15th Feb

To learn more about the authors:

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You will find Ali pottering about most days on her blog: www.aliisaacstoryteller.com, her Facebook author page, or tweeting. Alternatively, you can email her at: ali@aliisaacstoryteller.commailto:aliisaacstoryteller.com@gmail.com. Her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

 

 

PENTAX Digital Camera

 

Jane can be found on her blog, www.janedoughertywrites.com, on her FaceBook author page , or tweeting. You can find out more about her on Goodreads, and all her books are available on Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk.

 

 

While you have your finger hovering over the Amazon buy button, why not splash out and treat yourselves to a copy of Ali’s first Conor Kelly story Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk 

And/or Jane’s The Dark Citadel (only Amazon.co.uk)

Both at the knockdown price of 99c/99p until Sunday February 15th.

Recommended Reads: The Whisper of Stars by Nick Jones

The Whisper of Stars

A few months ago somebody recommended I should read The Whisper of Stars, saying it trod similar ground to my books. I put off reading it for a while as I was worried about being influenced by another writer’s ideas, but over the Christmas break I decided it was time to have a look. I’m glad I did. If you have read and enjoyed either of my books, I highly recommend you read The Whisper of Stars. It covers similar ideas to those in Second Chance and Absent Souls but in a very different way, and it’s a cracking read to boot.

The Blurb

The year is 2091. With accelerated warming and global population out of control, the survival of humanity hangs in the balance. On the brink of extinction, science delivers one last hope. Human hibernation.
Jennifer Logan is a tough cop in the newly formed Duality Division, tasked with enforcing hibernation. When she uncovers a memory, hidden deep within her mind, her belief in the system she protects is shattered. Together with an unlikely partner, and convinced that her past holds the secret to mankind’s future, she embarks on a dangerous search for the truth, one that rapidly turns into a struggle for her life. Pursued by the very people she once trusted, Logan must risk everything for answers to the mystery that unfolds. As her world unravels and the layers of deceit are revealed, she is forced to question everything and use all of her skills to survive. In The Whisper of Stars, author Nick Jones delivers a breathtaking, sinister vision of the future, where nothing is what it seems. He shows us that some secrets cannot stay buried, no matter how deep.

The Whisper of Stars is the first book in the Hibernation Saga. A fast-paced, futuristic thriller starring a tough, female protagonist. It features conspiracy theories, romance and intrigue and is set in a dystopian world, making it an ideal read for any fans of the sci-fi genre and also suitable for a young adult audience.

The Review

With The Whisper of Stars, Nick Jones has combined detective, espionage and near-future dystopian thriller genres to produce a cracking story that is both compelling and makes you think about the challenges we face in the future.

With Earth’s resources dwindling, the UN has taken control, forcing large parts of the world’s population to go into hibernation – sleeping one year on, one year off. Jennifer Logan is part of the Duality Division, ensuring people go into hibernation at their allotted time, but after a failed mission, old memories are awakened leading her to embark on a quest for the truth about what happened to her father many years before, a quest that has her questioning everything she knows about her life and the world she lives in.

This really is a great read. Each chapter draws you into the world Jones has created, one that is both futuristic and very, very real, with neural implants rubbing shoulders with a night down the pub with friends. As the story progresses Jones gradually reveals a dark vision of the future, where those in power are forced to make difficult decisions which in turn become further corrupted by the desire to manipulate and control.

All this on its own would make an interesting read but it’s with the character of Jennifer Logan that this book stands out. This is a strong, non-nonsense female lead who just doesn’t give up, using her own skills and ingenuity to overcome anything in her path. Once the search for the truth starts, Jones successfully ratchets up the tension chapter after chapter and I found myself staying up late just to reach the satisfying climax that sets up book 2 very nicely. If you like near-future thrillers, then you should read this book. Highly recommended.

To buy The Whisper of Stars from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy The Whisper of Stars from Amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Reading Challenge

reading challenge

 

I wrote recently about how a good author needs to be a good reader. I read daily and have done for as long as I can remember, however I have been known to become focussed on books from particular genres. Since starting Pay It Forward – where I support indie authors and those from small presses by buying their books and recommending those I enjoy – I’ve found I’ve enjoyed books written in genres I previously wouldn’t have touched.

Now I want to take my reading to the next stage, with your help.

On today’s calmgrove blog there was an update on a reading challenge he started at the beginning of the year. The aim of the challenge is expand your reading habits by ticking off each of the 52 items on a list (shown above). I think it’s a great idea, so I plan to do the same, but combine this with Pay It Forward by selecting only indie published books or those published via a small press. Looking through the four books I’ve read this year I can already tick off 10 items, but that still leaves me with 42 items to cover.

This is where you come in.

I would love you to tell me ONE indie or small press books you’ve read and loved, that could help me tick off items from the list. It could be from any genre and by any author, but you have to have read the book and loved it yourself. The only other rule is that you can’t nominate your own book or one with which you have any commercial link. This is all about paying something back to the indie community.

I can’t promise I’ll read every suggestion but I will look at them all and if I think they fit the challenge and cover an area that hasn’t been covered, I’ll buy it and read it. I will even review and recommend those I’ve enjoyed under my recommended reads. If I don’t enjoy a book for whatever reason, the author will still have had my money and the sales uptick from my purchase.

So, it’s over to you. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions.

If you’re also thinking of doing a reading challenge, why not get a head start by joining my mailing list and get one of my books absolutely free? The mailing list is guaranteed spam free and I will only contact you if I have a new book launch or an exclusive short story to share. To sign up, please click here. 

Top reading tips for writers

reading

It’s coming up to that special time of the year all writers love: Bookmas. Yes, if you’re anything like me then the Christmas holidays are a book bonanza, either because you receive books as presents or – my particular favourite – you receive gift tokens so you can buy the books you’ve been wanting to read all year.

But for writers, reading isn’t just a chance to relax and enjoy ourselves, it’s also an ideal opportunity to brush up on your craft, so here are my top reading tips for authors.

1 Read often

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard writers say they don’t have time to read. I just don’t understand the sentiment. As Stephen King once said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Reading regularly is one of the best ways to improve your craft. You subconsciously take in the structure, pacing and composition of a well written story. I read every night before I go to sleep and have done for nearly 40 years. There are some nights where I read a page before I wake myself with my book – or kindle – falling on my face, other nights I’ll read so late I’m tired the next day. No matter how tired I am, I always make time to read.

2 Read your genre

If you write in a particular genre it’s important you understand the particular quirks an traditions of the genre. I’ve said before I never set out to write science fiction, it was just the story and ideas I wanted to explore fit the genre, but I love science fiction and have bookshelves full of my favourite science fiction author’s work.

3 Read outside of your genre

That doesn’t mean to say you should read exclusively from within your genre. While my tastes will always lean heavily toward speculative fiction, I also love traditional thrillers, mysteries, political thrillers, literary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction and so on and so on. There are many excellent writers out there in all genres and with ebooks you now have the opportunity to sample a wide spectrum of genres for relatively little cost. Since starting to Pay it Forward to the writing community, I’ve enjoyed and  learnt so much from reading books in genres I would never normally have tried. If you want to broaden your writing skills, broaden your reading.

4 Make notes of what works well

I read for enjoyment. I’m not analytical when I read because I like to be swept away into the world an author creates which I find difficult if I’m continually analysing the prose to find out how the author world their magic. That said, there are times when I’m reading that I can’t help but be dazzled by a well written phrase, a cleverly worked plot point or a scintillating piece of dialogue, so I always have a notepad beside my bed so I can note these down for future reference.

5 Make notes of what doesn’t work and why

On the other hand, there are also times where something doesn’t work or leaves me feeling a little let down. I like to look at why that is, try to figure out the underlying cause and identify what I would have done differently in the same situation.

6 Use what you’re reading to inspire your writing

Reading somebody else’s book can spark inspiration you may never otherwise have had. Many books have been inspired by others books, whether as an homage to the original or as a response. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was famously inspired by The Coral Island, Golding clearly believing that a group of children shipwrecked on an island wouldn’t all work together happily.

My first book, Second Chance, was in part inspired by a book by Peter F. Hamilton, an author of whom I’m a big fan. In it, a character sacrifices themselves only to come back later on after being cloned. I remember thinking at the time, “but it’s not the same person, it’s a copy.” It annoyed me so much I decided to work out how you could clone people and it still end up being the same person, and Second Chance was born.

7 But don’t plagiarise

Most writers would be delighted to find their work inspired something you’ve written. No writers enjoy seeing their work copied. There’s a big difference between taking a story and moving it to a new and unique setting, to writing the same story but changing the name and facial features of the lead characters. Don’t go there.

8 Write a review

Any author will tell you how much they appreciate a review, but as a writer yourself, writing a review helps to crystallise your thoughts on what you appreciated about the book and where it could be improved, which in turn allows you to identify how to improve your own writing.

9 Contact author to say how much you liked their book

If you really enjoyed a book, contact the author. Many authors are now on social media, either Twitter, Facebook or blogging like myself, and I don’t know of a single author who isn’t thrilled to receive a note from somebody who enjoyed their book. I’ve done this a number of times myself and have formed great friendships with other writers, building a mutual support group which in turn has helped develop my writing.

This will be my last post before Christmas, so I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to catching up with you all in the New Year.

Did you know you could broaden your reading habits absolutely free by signing up to my mailing list by either clicking here or on the image at the top right hand side of my blog. In return, you will receive one of my e-books, of your choice, for no cost to you! 

Absent Souls: publication date and new description

Absent Souls - High Resolution

 

I’m very pleased to announce that Absent Souls (The Transcendence Trilogy: Book 2) will be available to buy as an e-book from Friday 28th November, exclusively on Amazon. To help give you a flavour of what the story’s about, here’s the product description.

One death, two nations on the brink of war, and four people fighting the ghosts of their past.

Mick O’Driscoll has a problem. A man has died in the Scrambles, and nothing happens in the Scrambles without his permission, or so he thought. The death spells trouble and O’Driscoll knows it. The question is, who killed the Prime Delegate’s brother on his turf and why?

Set two years after the events of Second Chance, Absent Souls follows the story of four people struggling to deal with events in the present while tormented by events from the past: an Investigator, tortured by the memory of a man he couldn’t find and a crime he was unable solve; a crime lord, forced to live a life he inherited but never truly wanted; a Professor, using academic success to drown out his guilt; and a Global Governance operative, slowly becoming the very thing she’s fighting against.

Forced to work with those they distrust in an effort to uncover the truth, it soon becomes clear that it’s not just their own lives they need to protect, but the very future of humanity that’s at stake.

So what do you think? Does it whet your appetite enough to buy the book?

New Release: The Indie Author Power Pack: How To Write, Publish & Market Your Book

I’ve reviewed Let’s Get Digital recently & been promoting Write, Publish, Repeat for some time now, so to have both these books, plus How to Market a Book, all for 99c / 79p, is a real no brainer. If you have any interest in writing and publishing a book, this will be the best value purchase you’ll ever make.

David Gaughran

indie-power-pack-blogFor the last few months I have been secretly planning an assault on the New York Times bestseller list. Today, I can finally announce the release of the book I’m hoping will do the trick.

The IndieAuthorPowerPack: How To Write, Publish & Market Your Book contains three top-rated guides:

  • Write. Publish. Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
  • Let’s Get Digital (2nd ed.) by me
  • How To Market A Book (2nd ed.) by Joanna Penn
  • + Bonus Content!

It’s only available for a limited time, and you can pre-order it now for just 99c at:

Amazon|Apple|B&N|Kobo|$0.99

The box will launch on Monday, November 3, but if you pre-order now the book will automatically download to your device next Monday.

I took great care in selecting the books for this box set. I wanted to present the very…

View original post 1,195 more words

Recommended Reads: The Me You See by Shay Ray Stevens

The Me You See large

The Blurb

After six people are shot at a small town community theater, people gather to attend the funeral of one of the victims: seventeen-year-old Stefia. As those who knew Stefia best privately share their memories of her, we discover a collective picture of a girl everyone loved but no one really knew. 

Who was Stefia? Who knew her best? And why was she targeted in the shooting?

 

In The Me You See, Shay Ray Stevens has created an excellent mystery. On the surface, Stefia appears to be the the perfect young girl – warm, funny, intelligent – but as the book progresses we find the truth about Stefia is far more complex than first appears.

Stevens has successfully pieced together a compelling narrative based around the memories of Stefia’s friends and family. The timeline jumps back and forth, covering important events from Stefia’s life, each a step along the path to the opening shooting. What would be confusing in the hands of another author flows effortlessly due to Stevens’ skilful handling of both plot and characterisation. Each new character’s perspective feels real and unique, not an easy thing to do. It was very easy to become engrossed in the mystery of what happened. As new aspects of Stefia’s personality and life were revealed, I found myself racing through the pages to find out more.

The story made uncomfortable reading at times – Stevens isn’t afraid to reveal life’s darker side – but despite the discomfort these scenes were handled sensitively. There were one or two occasions where I felt the dialogue for one of the older characters was off – the choice of wording too young for their age – but this really is a minor quibble on what is an excellent book which successfully raises the question of whether we can ever truly know all aspects of a person’s character. Highly recommended.

To buy The Me You See from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy The Me You See from Amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Recommended Reads: Yesterday Road by Kevin Brennan

yesterday road small-cover

I’ve been enjoying Kevin Brennan’s blog, What the Hell, for a while now. It has a great mix of articles on writing, his favourite music, as well as his occasional exasperation at the publishing business. Yesterday Road had always been on my ‘to read’ list but it wasn’t until it was recommended by Susan Toy on her Island Editions blog that I finally took the plunge and bought it. I’m so glad I did (if that isn’t an example on the power of word-of-mouth recommendations, I don’t know what is).

Yesterday Road tells the tale of Jack, an old man looking for something but unsure exactly what that something is. Jack has trouble with his memory. He can’t remember what happened the day before, and those images he can remember have little meaning. He has also lost his wallet and his ID; all he has is a cutout picture of a handsome young man in his pocket. Yet with the help of others – some kind, some less so – Jack undertakes a journey that not only helps him find what he is looking for, but also find out who he really is.

This is a beautiful book. In Yesterday Road, Brennan has created a unique tale that is warm-hearted and generous in spirit. As the story progressed it became very easy to form a bond with each of the main characters: Joe Easterhouse conveys the warmth and love like so many people with Downs Syndrome have, and Ida Peevey is the person we all hope we would be in a similar situation. But the true strength of Brennan’s writing comes is shown when we travel with Jack and see the world through his eyes. This combination of childlike wonder and regret at what he has forgotten, gives the story it’s warmth, humour and poignancy. There were a few moments where I had to put my inner-cynic to one side as Brennan clearly believes in the triumph of people’s better nature, but my experience was all the better for it, especially the latter part of the book which brought on tears of both sadness and joy. Highly Recommended.

While writing this post I’ve just seen Yesterday Road is currently on offer for 99c / 77p. This is an absolute steal. What are you waiting for? 

To buy Yesterday Road from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy Yesterday Road from Amazon.com click here