Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin

This is the story of Mildred Dunlap and her cousin Edra. Set in Red River Pass, Nevada during Oscar Wilde's prosecution and incarceration for 'indecent acts', it tells of a time of intolerance and prejudice. Mildred and Edra find their lives and 'special friendship' turned upside down by small minded townies. Mildred concocts a plan to take the spotlight off them but all too soon new and ever more malicious rumours start up and Mildred and Edra must look to unlikely sources for friendship and stability.

This was a wonderfully written written story, a female take on Brokeback Mountain. Both heart-warming and heartbreaking in turn, I was taken along on an amazing ride. It was at its core, a love story but it was also so much more than that. it showed all too strongly the damage prejudice and small minded gossip can cause. The descriptions were vivid and the characters solid and utterly believable. I found myself in tears on more than one occasion. Well done to the author for tackling an emotive issue with such compassion. I will certainly be looking out for more!

Monday, 24 December 2012

The 8th by Matt Shaw

This is the story of a boy - an ordinary boy - pushed to his limits by bullying at school. He tries to put up with it and ignore it but in the end it gets too much and over the course of one fateful lesson his resolves to make every one of the people who bullied him and his friends pay...

This was a very thought provoking story. It could happen to anyone pushed enough and fragile enough. Bullying is a terrible crime and not enough is done to stamp it out of our schools. The sad fact is, although extreme, the story was all too realistic, and that made it all the more chilling. Well done Matt, for addressing a subject that is all too often ignored and brushed under the carpet.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Affairs of the Heart by Borislava Borrisova

This is two novellas in one volume with the theme of love running through them.

I initially found these hard to get into. I had to keep stopping and starting, but once I had got past the 'sticky' bit I started to enjoy the book. The first novella concentrated on the secrets of a town in Bulgaria and was steeped in history. The second told of the trials and tribulations of everyday love. The pace was initially slow, but then picked up in the second story to almost breakneck speed! The characters were solid and believable, and I identified well with them. The stories themselves were bitter-sweet but enjoyable. A very good effort from the author.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

ASBO by Iain Rob Wright

This is the story of Andrew and his family who run foul of a local troublemaker. Andrew goes out for fish and chips and bumps into Frankie. Fresh out of a young offenders institution and looking to make trouble, he asks Andrew to buy him a packet of cigarettes, Andrew refuses. Soon though he comes to wish he had just bought the cigarettes as over the course of a week Frankie unleashes a reign of terror and brutality on Andrew and his family. It all culminates on one fateful night that none of them will forget for a very long time...

Sadly this is an indictment of today's Britain. It was a non-stop horrific ride of terror that left me gasping at the end. Andrew and his family were just an ordinary Joe family that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. My heart went out to them as they were being terrorised and I could feel their pain. I totally understood Andrew's actions and I think if I was in his position I would not hesitate to do the same. The story was very descriptive and the characters true to life. The pace belted along and the book was hard to put down. This is the first book I have read by this author and judging by this standard I will be reading more.