Tag Archives: #Courage

Gaiman, Neil: The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)

Thank you, to my sister-in-law for giving me a copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

In December, right before I turned seven my family moved from Australia to Norway. One of my memories tied to that move is stepping outside the plane into the middle of Norwegian winter. Moving was not something I wanted, and winter did not help.

Soon I was driving slowly, bumpily, down a narrow lane with brambles and briar roses on each side, wherever the edge was not a stand of hazels or a wild hedgerow. It felt like I had driven back in time. That lane was how I remembered it, when nothing else was.

Memory can be triggered by scent, sound and sight. All of a sudden you find yourself re-visiting a time you had forgotten. Neurons spark neurons and whatever filing system you have going for you opens a memory file.

If you’d asked me an hour before, I would have said no, I did not remember the way. I do not even think I would have remembered Lettie Hempstock’s name. But standing in the hallway, it was all coming back to me. Memories were waiting at the edges of things, beckoning to me. Had you told me that I was seven again, I might have half believed you, for a moment.

As others have mentioned, we never discover what the name of the main character is. For the most part he is called “the boy”, and that is how I think of him. Neil Gaiman’s statement that the story is meant for adults fits my feeling while reading the book. There is enough terror (not violent) for a younger audience to enjoy it as well.

At seven years of age, children have little say in their lives. Moving to Norway was not my choice. Nor does the boy have much influence on his own life. There are a few episodes that illustrate this. To me, the episode with the cat stands out the most. Utter disregard of the possibility that the boy might be devastated shocked me. Yet, looking back at my own life, children were presumably fine with whatever the adults chose. In The Ocean at the End of the Lane, adults are judged more believable than the boy. So it is when I look around at the parts of the world I have encountered. My Asperger brain is completely baffled by this phenomenon. When the boy’s enemy states

“And what can you say to her that will make any difference? She backs up your father in everything, doesn’t she.”

I am reminded of many family situations that have crossed my life-path. No matter what one parent does or says, they have the backing of the other. Utterly incomprehensible.

Being without power to decide anything about their lives is something children come to semi-accept. At the same time there is a continuous battle between adults and children to have the ability to decide. We see some of that in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The boy does not give in to the powers that be, although it might, at first, seem that way to the adults.

The Hempstock women became a safe haven for the boy. For me that is hilarious because some of the most dangerous episodes happen while together with one of them. But they sought to protect him and make his life safer by fighting for him with the means at their disposal. These means aren’t exactly regular ones.

I loved the Hempstock women. I want to be like the Hempstock women.

Definitely recommended.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane can be found at biblio.com




Pratchett, Terry: Choosing to die (2009)

Terry Pratchett
Sir Terry Pratchett

For me Terry Pratchett is the man. Discworld was my first meeting with him. Since then I have gotten to know him better through his cooperative work with other authors. This way he has spread my knowledge of other authors and interest in other types of science fiction and fantasy.

On his website I eventually discovered that Pratchett has developed Alzheimer’s disease. My parents now have friends who have had Alzheimer for quite a while and I have gotten to see some of the effect of that disease. They have also shared with me how these individuals show the symptoms of Alzheimer and how the person they knew disappears slowly but surely.

As late as 2014 May 13 Terry Pratchett writes the article Those of us with dementia need a little help from our friends in The Guardian. He has been able to place a rather famous face in the Alzheimer camp supporting the cause with both words and money for research.

Due to the nature of the disease Terry Pratchett has quite naturally had many thoughts about how it is going to affect him. When will the moment come when his ability to make choices for himself disappear?

BBC’s documentary Choosing to Die with Terry Pratchett is bound to make an impression on the viewer. I was touched by it and remained thoughtful a long time after viewing it.

Alzheimer’s is very definitely not the only disease that has a terrible progression. In Choosing to Die we get to meet two people who are choosing to die before their body gives in on its own to MS and ALS. My own thoughts on the matter are that I would very much like to choose to die rather than have to endure an awful ending.

The film seems to have disappeared from the net.

  • 2011 winner for Best Single Documentary at the British Academy Scottish Awards
  • 2011 winner for Best Single Documentary at the Royal Television Society awards
  • 2011 winner for General Education Broadcast Award
  • 2014 July 2: The embuggerance is catching up with me

Dale, Anna: Dawn Undercover (2005)

Dawn Undercover - Japanese cover
Japanese cover: “The katakana is translated as “supai chiisai onna don bakkaru”, literally “Spy Girl Dawn Buckle”. (Dylan)

Dawn Buckle‘s family is strange. Her father and grand-father could be Aspergers with the keen interest they have in their respective hobbies: wall-clocks and game-shows. Dawn’s mother always has such a lot of work she must do. When the S.H.H. (Strictly Hush-Hush) ask if Dawn can come work for them during the summer, Dawn’s mother says:

“So Dawn would be out from under my feet … I mean she’d be taken care of for the whole of the summer holidays?

And I thought I was bad. I realize there are a great deal of children who live in homes where they are ignored. What a challenge this must be for the child. For Dawn, the appearance of Emma Cambridge is a gift. Finally, a person who actually notices her.

You see, Dawn Buckle is the kind of girl who seems to be invisible. She could be standing next to you and you would not notice her. She is average looking and has nothing that is extraordinary about her. A lot of us fit into that category. In fact this used to be me. I’m of average looks, like comfortable clothes, am observant, have had various types of stuffed animals and like information. My parents though, well they were a bit more present and would never have let me go off on a P.S.S.T. type of stay – that is unless I had recently gotten myself into trouble.

That is the trouble about us quiet ones. We are often underestimated. As Dawn finds out being underestimated is a bonus in the world of espionage. Just because she is seldom noticed does not mean that Dawn is incapable.

Dawn’s first lesson in spying is that things are not always as they seem. As she and Emma arrive at the headquarters of P.S.S.T. (Pursuit of Scheming Spies and Traitors) Dawn is puzzled:

“Emma opened the front gate, knocking the stalk of a magnificent sunflower. Its heavy head swung to one side, revealing a sign behind it that read “Dampside Hotel”.

Dawn is a prime example of not being what she seems. This is a great example to young boys and girls as to how girls really are. Not all girls but a lot.

For some strange reason, the apparently dead Mundo Meek seems to know too much about what is currently going on inside P.S.S.T. But is he really dead? Therein lies the mystery and the suspense.

Delightful names and acronyms are used by Anna Dale. Ms. Dale has managed to create a story that is exciting, funny, interesting and informative all at the same time. Her proposed age group target of 8-12 years seems appropriate.


  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (2 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747577463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747577461

Angell, Lorena (co-authored by Joshua Angell): The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny (The Unaltered IV)

The Diamond Bearer's Destiny

As with the previous covers for The Unaltered serial (need to read them in order) I really like this cover. As the very good thief I am, I stole a compilation of the three others from Angell’s site:

The unaltered series

Once upon a time a human became Crimson. She was the first human with a jewel inserted into her heart. Then came Mathea and later on others. With the abilities brought on by being Diamond Bearers these people were able to help humanity survive and to look for unaltered people. Unaltereds are the only ones who can become a Diamond Bearer and the only way to be an unaltered is to have no special powers at all. In the world of Calli Courtnae, Chris Harding and the rest just about every person has some degree of super-natural ability.

Then along comes Freedom (Henry) and General Harding (Chris’ father). Sometimes the combination of two people can bring about amazing results. In Freedom and General Harding’s case these results were amazingly destructive for people who have more than a smidgen of power. Trouble looms.

The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny starts off with an information dump that lets Calli know why Chris acted as he did in The Diamond of Freedom. For the length of the novel the info-dump is too long. I like the manner in which it was done – by having Calli read Chris’ memories.

Calli meets Crimson for the first time when she meets up with Chris and ends up reading his memories. Crimson tries to make Calli understand just how important she views the freedom to choose. Crimson’s explanation of her world-view is not too long in and of itself. On top of the information dump it is. Once Angell spread the philosophical moments with action we once again started moving into the action/thrillerish nature of the other three Unaltered novels.

The Unaltered serial is definitely for young adults. Both violence and romance is kept extremely innocent. I think even the strictest parents would allow their children to read this kind of content.

Although Brand doesn’t get to be as fun this time around, he does get to show off a bit. For those who are interested in romance, there is even some of that. Chris and Calli are a bit mushy for me, but then they have been all along. Very few romantic descriptions avoid my mushy label.

I found the consequence for Diamond Bearers who tried to go against nature interesting. Whether Calli stuffing the diamond into Jonas’ chest qualifies as one such action is a worry for Crimson (and Calli once she gets to know how serious something like that is).

In The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny Deus Ex and General Harding’s are both obsessed with having their own diamonds. Both are driven by fear of some other person being more powerful than themselves. Aahhh, the ever-present lure of power.


My review of:

  1. Diamond in My Pocket
  2. Diamond in My Heart
  3. The Diamond of Freedom

Moeller, Jonathan: Child of the Ghosts (The Ghosts) (2011)

Child of the Ghosts
Cover image copyright JC Design
Photograph: iStockPhoto

Being sold by one’s parents for the use of others is a practice that humans have followed for ages. Caina in Child of the Ghosts is an 11-year-old girl who meets this fate. The circumstances surrounding the sale differ greatly from what most children who are bartered experience, but slavery is slavery.

In the time leading up to Caina’s dire fate we read a novel that could be read to fairly young children. For the main part we see meanness, but meanness is part of the human experience. However, during and after her being handed over to her buyers, Caina’s experiences grow brutal. In spite of a fairly young text, my opinion is that the violence in certain parts ups the age level a bit. I have set it at young adult. Again, my recommendation is for an adult to check out the text before letting your child read it by themselves.

Bloodiness aside, Child of the Ghosts shows a side of parenting that is less than pleasant. Caina’s father is a man wanting to protest his wife’s behavior toward Caina without finding the strength to do so. Caina’s mother is ambitious and willing to do anything to get her way.

Oddly enough, Caina finds stability and security once she ends up with the Ghosts – the monarch’s assassins. They are not the people to whom she was sold, but the Ghosts are the ones she ends up with. Her path from then on is fraught with adventure rather than brutality while she learns what being a Ghost entails.

Like most of the other reviews point out, there are annoying mistakes. I imagine finding someone suited to edit your work while self-publishing can be a feat, but as a reader poor editing lessens my desire to read other works by that author. Child of the Ghosts deserves better.




Greenwood, C.: Betrayal of Thieves (Legends of Dimmingwood) (2012)

Betrayal of Thieves
Cover art by Michael Gauss

Once again Ilan has to leave the life she has known so well. Her feelings are conflicted and prickly. With her she tries to bring her mother’s brooch. But Terrac takes it from her. Terrac decides to leave the criminal elements as well. He feels as though he is losing himself, or rather who he had hopes of being (a man of peace).

The Fist had been waiting for suckers to come back and get their stuff at the camp and Ilan and Terrac turned out to be those suckers. Terrac gets captured while Ilan manages to escape.

Ilan and her bow bonded in Magic of Thieves. Its strange qualities and seeming awareness puzzle Ilan and she sets out to find help in figuring out what this magic is all about. If there is one thing I have learned in my long acquaintanceship with fantasy and science fiction it is to be wary of objects that seem to have mysterious powers. They always end up getting you into trouble.

Betrayal of Thieves was a pretty good fantasy read. I like prickly Ilan. I sure would not like to find myself in her position. For some reason I always look for common ground with the characters of the various novels I read. No matter how evil or how good they are, there always seems to be something I can recognize. Ilan and Terrac are just average people and therefore pretty easy to connect with. Terrac’s changes are interesting. Maybe I will continue reading this serial.



  • File Size: 481 KB
  • Print Length: 181 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1481213229
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

My review of Magic of Thieves

Giacomo, Jasmine: Oathen (Legend of the Shanallar) (2011)

Cover art by Amy Grimwood-Habjan

The end of The Wicked Heroine left Meena in a sticky place. We now discover how she gets out of it. Definitely one of the novel’s high points and humorous at that. If you are a proper young adult you will like the grossness of the scene (especially if you have a good imagination). “… his knife skittered against the blade of a short sword jammed up from below” on the bottom of page 3 sets the tone for the rest of Oathen. Jasmine writes grosse well – an excellent and important quality in an author.

Anjoya Meseer (Geret and Salvor’s language teacher) ends up leaving Salience with Count Runcan for Vint. The two of them have a surprise change of of transportation on the way. Anjoya turns out to be important to the political climate in Vint, so hurrah to her for taking a chance on a change in future.

Then we have the love-triangle/quadrangle of Geret, Sanych, Salvor and Rhona who travel with the returned Meena and the chased Gryme/Kemsil. Talk about messy love. I think this was the bit about Legend of the Shanallar that just didn’t do anything for me, but I am not really a romance reader and definitely not a YA one.

Did Oathen have action. I guess that is one way of putting it. Plenty of action and magic. All of them learn what they are made of and Meena finally gets her heart’s desire fulfilled. I think you could say that Oathen had a happy ending – at least for some of the characters. The others, well you learn to live with the choices you have made. Consequences can suck.

At times the story hiccupped, but that happens. Other than that Oathen was a great YA novel (I think, being 48 and all).

You can find Jasmine Giacomo at Jasmine Giacomo logo  and Facebook-Logo.

The Romance Reviews

My review of The Wicked Heroine

Gunzel, Jeff: Land of Shadows (The Legend of the Gatekeeper) (2012)

Land of Shadows
Cover art by Ronnell D. Porter

First of all I would like to compliment Jeff Gunzel on his choice of cover artist. The cover of Land of Shadows is amazingly beautiful. Love the work of Ronnell D. Porter.

I see that some of the earlier reviews have asked for editing of Lands of Shadow. I have an updated version from 2013 and have a feeling that there must have been quite a bit of editing done if the previous critique was true. I like that in an author – the ability to listen to what people have to say and then decide if what is said is worth listening to. So that is one plus in Jeff Gunzel’s favor.

I loved the opening scene. The warrior Morcel’s choice to leave off the life he had been leading lately brings him in a sense back to the land of the living. All because that one last drop had fallen. Life is like that (although maybe not quite as brutal as the village scenes). Sometimes that one drop extra falls and you cannot stand your own choices any longer. Change comes – sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Morcel’s having had his fill plays an important role in the plot of The Land of Shadows.

Right away I am going to warn you of a particularly gruesome scene – the one that changes Morcel’s life. This is NOT a book for Young Adults and there are definitely trigger factors for those who have been victims of sexual abuse. Consider yourselves warned.

In this scene we meet a girl who also plays an important role in the development of the plot. If you are awake you will spot her reappearance. She is quite a strong character.

There is action from the beginning of Land of Shadows. Talk about intense scenes that just grip me and will not let me go. Not until Chapter 3 do we get a description of beautiful Tarmerria. But that beauty does have a back side. There are plenty of unwanted elements, crime and scary outlanders.

What we get in the Land of Shadows is a bunch of people who have had to make terrible choices in order to stave off a potentially terrible future. But bearing the consequences of their choices takes a toll on them and the ones they have made those choices for. Life is all too often like that. A person can only do what they think is right and hope that they do not mess up too badly.

Land of Shadows is a dark novel, dark and beautiful. It is well worth the read and I would say that Jeff Gunzel has the potential of being an amazing writer. He already hits the flow over and over again and plays with my feelings like a virtuoso.


Cheney, Kathleen J.: A Hand For Each (2011)

a hand for each
Cover photograph by Robert Glen Fogarty
Cover design by Kathleen J. Cheney

Three short stories are presented in A Hand for Each. The stories are: A Hand for Each, Masks of War and Fleurs du Mal.

A Hand for Each was published in 2007 in Shimmer’s Pirate Issue. From it we learn that if your ship is conquered by natives of some island and all of its crew left dead except yourself, you had better get off that ship as soon as possible. Otherwise you are going to be in serious trouble.

I guess you could say that A Hand for Each is reminiscent of The Flying Dutchman. That would make this a semi-horror story, although with the ending it might be more appropriate to call it a horror story. I like stories like these. I just know how it is has to end but I keep on hoping that I am wrong. (It probably doesn’t help that I often read the ending before I get there).

Masks of War was published in 2008 in Fantasy Magazine. It is obviously a story about masks of some kind, in this case a literal one. Sergeant Grey is given the job of tagging along with a German soldier who has had his face disfigured. Once the soldier puts on a mask to hide his disfigurement something strange happens and off the both of them go.

Masks of War is a story about hope and change. Sometimes it is possible to right a wrong, to change your path in life by acknowledging what has gone forever. I found it fascinating to follow along with the two ex-soldiers as they watched the amazing unfold.

Fleurs du Mal was published in 2010 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I think you could probably call Fleurs du Mal a horror story. We have here a story about possession, a really strange type of possession. Good thing I have the opposite of a green thumb. Any plant that comes near me had better run for its life.

Fleurs du Mal was fun. It’s story has all of the ingredients that a mild horror should have. I am unable to read anything harder than that. The oh, oh feeling came back again and again and I kept a running commentary on the characters of the story. (I do this with movies as well.)

So, all in all A Hand for Each was fun to read and I definitely kept reading through all three stories. Good job Kathleen J. Cheney.

Drake, David: Sea Hag (1988)

Cover by Larry Elmore

David Drake is an author that has been in the business for ages. I have this really strange relationship with his work. For some bizarre reason I usually imagine that I am not going to enjoy what he has written. And what happens? I’m sucked in every time. EVERY time! And still I expect not to like his writing. Slow learner I guess.

The Sea Hag was no exception. I thought, “nah, I don’t like David Drake” …. What a joke. Of course I like David Drake. I always do. And I did.

When I started reading Sea Hag I thought it was a fantasy tale. That is intentional from the author’s side (see link). In addition to being a fantasy, it is also science fiction. You will see why, when you read the novel.

Dennis discovers his father has made a promise to the Sea Hag in exchange for a wish. But Dennis’ father tries to get out of his promise. When Dennis discovers what the promise was and that his father has no intention of keeping it, Dennis sets off to somehow make up for his father’s failure. What we end up with in The Sea Hag is a hero’s journey. As his helper/side-kick we have Chester. Dennis and Chester are odd. I don’t know how else to describe them.

Dennis starts off like most of us – terribly naive. His ideas of what it takes to make it in the big world are off by a long-shot and he is incredibly lucky to have Chester along. At the same time Dennis is plucky. He has that combination of stubbornness and stupidity that a hero needs. By stupidity I mean the inability to see when something is supposed to be impossible.

Like all heroes’ tales the journey of Dennis and Chester brings us a great deal of unlikely scenes. I just love the stuff heroes survive, this hero too. The duo is loveable.

Did I like The Sea Hag. Hell, yes. Of course, I did. David Drake has ended up writing a book that he says people either hate or love. I am in the second category.

Cummings, Shane Jiraiya: The Smoke Dragon (The Adventures of Yamabushi Kaidan) (2011)

Cover design by Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Shane Jiraiya Cummings is a popular writer of dark fantasy. You can get the short-story Smoke Dragon for free on his website.

Power-hungry and greedy people are to be found all over the world I imagine. Along with the hunger for more we also sometimes find those who work for a lighter world.

Smoke Dragon is the story of the fight between two who are on the polar opposites of the above traits. The people fighting on the side of the Smoke Dragon want what they do not have even if it means killing to get it. On the other side we find Yamabushi Kaidan and his apprentices.

In Smoke Dragon we get a story packed with action, magic and martial arts set in a kind of Japan. Mr. Cummings writes a fascinating tale of disillusionment and the fight for something more than oneself and those nearest and dearest to us.

Originally published as “Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon” in Fantastic Wonder Stories, ed. Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications).

  • 2008 Ditmar Award Nomination, Best Novella/Novelette
  • 2008 Aurealis Award Nomination, Young Adult short story


Bunn, Christopher: The Wicked Day (The Tormay Trilogy) (2011)

Cover art by Alexey Aparin

The Wicked Day is Christopher Bunn‘s conclusion to The Tormay Trilogy. As this trilogy is a serial it would be wise to read The Hawk and His Boy first, then The Shadow at the Gate and finally The Wicked Day.

There are times when I find myself wholeheartedly able to recommend books for children. There are a couple of criteria I feel they need to fulfill. Violence and love stories have to be within certain parameters. Morals and ethics should be discussed without the discussion being obvious. (I like that in adult novels as well) Preachy authors are a pain. The flow of the written language should be such that I like the feel of reading to a child. I realise not every person in the world understands what I mean by that, but I would assume that a fellow autistically traited person would. It is all about word-texture.

Bunn fulfills all of these criteria in his Tormay Trilogy. The plot itself is pretty basic – light battles darkness/light almost loses/light prevails. I guess when life is boiled down to its most basic ingredients, life for humans is pretty much about the battle between light and darkness. One of the things I liked about this trilogy is Bunn letting us see that a person can contain both light and dark. We are not wholly one or the other.

Bunn’s characters are likeable. The story of Jute and his companions is continued. Not everything that happens in the novel is happy but there is an ending that brings the story to a conclusion. I have enjoyed my experience with the world of Christopher Bunn.

Carson, Rae: Dangerous Voices (2012)

Cover artist Jenn Reese

Freedom of Speech. How far are we willing to go to let our voices be heard? How far are others willing to go to stop our voices from being heard?

Dangerous Voices is a wonderfully terrible short story about the lengths people are willing to go to let their voices be heard and to stop those voices from reaching out. What would my choice have been? Hmmmm.

If it was not for the magic, this could be a story right out of Amnesty International‘s archives.

I  am thankful I got to meet Rae Carson.

Britain, Kristen: First Rider’s Call (Green Rider) (2003)

Behind the Wall by Special-Sari

Deviant Art has tons of fan-art for Kristen Britain. I found this gem depicting Alton’s struggle.

I just finished reading First Rider’s Call out loud to my son. Like Green Rider, First Rider’s Call is audio-friendly. Kristen Britain writes in a manner that makes it a delight to read aloud.

First Rider’s Call begins with the Journal of Hadriax el Fex. My son felt it would be more appropriate for him to save that story until its natural place in the book. It worked out well for him.

Leaving Hadriax el Fex’s journal for later had us starting the tale at chapter two. Karigan gets her call to return to the Green Riders, a call she has been resisting for a year. The manner in which she responds is well-thought out by Ms. Britain. From there on Karigan is thrown into one life-threatening situation after the other. I am so glad I am not Karigan. Along the way she is helped by Lil Ambriodhe – the First Rider. In Green Rider we saw Karigan interacting with ghosts and matters have not changed much in First Rider’s Call.

Blackveil wakes and sends its tendrils of magic into Sacoridia through the breach waking creatures better left sleeping. With this awakening we find the abilities of the Green Riders becoming unreliable. In Captain Mapstone’s case that causes trouble for the whole of the Green Riders. What will they do????

Like Green Rider, First Rider’s Call deals with a lot of loss and grief, but also with hope and friendship. Having to face their fears makes a difference in who various characters become. Realizing how far loved ones will go and deciding how to deal with them leads to difficult choices.

Life is like that. Yet, like many of the characters in First Rider’s Call, all we have to do is dare see ourselves for who we are. We might not be pleased with the result, but it does open up doors to new worlds.

My reviews of books 1 (Green Rider), 2 (First Rider’s Call), 3 (The High King’s Tomb) and 4 (Blackveil)

Adina, Shelley: Lady of Devices (2011)

lady_of_devices_shelleyadina_cover_500x800Cover art by Ann Bui Ngyuen

Lady of Devices is Shelley Adina’s first novel in the Magnificent Devices’ series. This steampunk novel is set in an alternate Victorian era. As usual with steampunk novels, steam runs the world. Steam is the hot thing, the Power alternative that will last forever.

We meet Lady Trevalyan, a 17-year old with decidedly unconventional interests. No embroidery for this girl.

I’ve always liked spunky female characters. Women who dare defy whatever society deems as feminine behavior. Claire is one such lady.

When her father shoots himself because of bad investments, the family is left with a lot less money than they had hoped. Claire has to choose between waiting for her mother to find her a husband or try to make a living. She decides to make a living and sets out to explore her possibilities.

Claire soon discovers that the “real world” can be dangerous, especially if you are a woman. This is where her spunkiness comes in handy. This girl has grit. She just screams a bit in her head and gets on with whatever she has to do to survive.

What can I say, I am a sucker for these kinds of portrayals. There is no denying I want my female characters to be strong. I also want my authors to write in a manner that engages my interest and keeps it. Shelley Adina manages to do just that. Her sentences tie together wonderfully and her images are hilarious.

“Claire Trevelyan closed her eyes as a gobbet of reddish-brown foam dripped off the ceiling and landed squarely on the crown of her head. It dribbled past her ears and onto the pristine sailor collar of her middy blouse, and thence, gravity having its inevitable effect, down the blue seersucker of her uniform’s skirt to the floor.” It’s practically so I can feel the goo running down my head.