Author Archives: lydias

Author Promo Opportunity at Long and Short Reviews

Calling all of the authors who follow my site! I just received word that Long and Short Reviews is ready to accept submissions for their 14th Anniversary Party. From their post on the topic:

This celebration is for all fiction genres we feature and review (romance, erotic romance, YA/Middle Grade, Mystery/Suspense, SFF and mainstream fiction) as well as non-fiction books (memoirs, self-help, etc.) and poetry, and will run August 23 – 27, 2021. We expect a huge turnout, with thousands of visitors, just like we’ve had every year on our anniversary! It’s a chance for some significant exposure.…

Along with several other prizes, we plan on giving away at least two $100 Amazon/BN GCs, and several smaller Amazon/BN GCs, all of which are sure to be a draw. Number and dollar amount of prizes will be based on participation. The more authors who participate, the more and bigger prizes we’ll offer and the more eyes on YOUR book! So… share this invitation everywhere 😊

Click on the link above for more information, including the form you’ll need to fill out if you’re interested in participating.

This is a wonderful opportunity for networking, finding new readers, and discovering great authors in many different genres.

August 1 is the deadline. Some years the available slots have filled up quickly, so I’d recommend signing up sooner rather than later if you’re able to do so.

One Look Back: A Review of During the Dance

 

During the Dance by Mark Lawrence book cover. Image on cover is a silhoutee of a ballet dancer with two arms and one leg up in the air.Title: During the Dance

Author: Mark Lawrence

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: July 4, 2014

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical

Length: 9 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb:

A story of love, loss, and the dance in between. Absolutely not a romance.
A short story about a child with a gift for seeing past the world.

Review:

Content warning: Death of a child. I will not be discussing it in my review.

Memories are the gateway to the past.

The writing itself was lovely. Without wandering into spoiler territory as it would be easy to do for something of this length, this was set in the narrator’s past as well as his present. He glided between them effortlessly, and his descriptions of his early childhood memories in a low-income but nurturing family often made me smile. There were some hints about exactly when this was set, but I appreciated the fact that the author left the precise decade up to interpretation. That along with the poetic framing of the scenes made it feel timeless in the best possible interpretation of that word.

Unfortunately, there were several tantalizing and important clues that were never developed. While I’d certainly understand if some of them were left up to the reader’s imagination due to how young the narrator was when the earliest events of this tale took place, it was confusing for me as a reader to not have enough information to put everything together. I spent most of these nine short pages convinced that the things the child was seeing were a warning or threat of some kind because of how often they seemed to appear right before something bad happened. It was perplexing to never get confirmation or denial that this theory might be the right one.  This would be a great jumping-off point if the author ever decides to write a sequel.

I appreciated what this story had to say about grief and loss. While the first pangs do tend to ebb with time, there is no expiration date on those emotions. Sometimes they can pop up again years later when something unexpectedly stirs up an old, half-forgotten memory. Mr. Lawrence did well at showing how suddenly these moments can happen and how they affect someone who wasn’t planning to spend their day reliving the past.

Yes, this review is a bit vaguer than my usual fare, but During the Dance really is something that should be leapt into without any spoilers in advance. If anything I wrote here tickles your fancy, I’d recommend reading it for yourself and coming up with your own conclusions.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Best Parts of Each Season

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Can you guess which season I like the most based on these lists?

a chocolate ice cream in a cone held up against a blue and white sky

Summer 

Many different fruits and vegetables are in season.
Lots of sunshine.
The sun is still in the sky at dinner time.
Festivals and parades happen during the summer.
Ice cream is an acceptable dinner on a hot, humid day.
Nearly every day is a good day for swimming

 

A path through the woods in autumn. Red maple trees line both sides of the path and have littered it with their fallen leaves.

Autumn

Halloween!
Leaves changing colour are beautiful.
Candy corn is on sale
Some fruits and vegetables still in season.
Mild temperatures.
New seasons of TV shows begin.
peeled tangerine next to two whole tangerines

Winter 

No seasonal allergies for months on end
Clementines, oranges, and other citrus fruits are in season.
Most TV shows are still airing new episodes.

 

Close-up photo of cherry tree blossoms

Spring

The days get longer, sunnier, and warmer.
Mild temperatures.
Spring thunderstorms are awe-inspiring.
Flowers bloom and bring colour to the landscape.
Migratory birds and other species return to Ontario.
The first green shoots and buds appear in early April here.
All plants once again have leaves and/or flowers by May.
The first spring vegetables like asparagus are available again.
Strawberries, one of my favourite fruits, are in season at the end of spring.
The cherry trees blossom. They smell and look incredible.
One can go outside with a light jacket or even no jacket at all.
Parks that closed over the winter will reopen again.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Summer 2021 TBR

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Somewhat blurry shot of two pages of a book that are slightly kept apart. You can see a sliver of the sky or a nearby blue wall through the end of them. As always, this TBR list is not set in stone.

So much depends on which books are available at my local library, how long their waitlists are, and whether I find other titles that demand to be read first.

I admire those of you who can make a TBR list and stick to it no matter what. That is impressive!

If no release date is noted in the list below, that means the book was published earlier this month.

So they can be purchased today or maybe even requested from your local library (if libraries exist where you live and it’s available there).

There’s something nice about having a mixture of books that can be read immediately and ones that will require a few months of patience.

 

Shirley Chisholm Dared- The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress  by Alicia D. Williams book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of a black woman wearing glasses.

1. Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress  by Alicia D. Williams  

Why I Want to Read It: This is a slice of U.S. history I know nothing about. In my experience, picture books can be a fun way to learn about historical figures you’re unfamiliar with.

 

Wake- The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts  by Rebecca Hall book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of eight slaves standing on a hill as they watch a city begin to burn.

2. Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts  by Rebecca Hall

Why I Want to Read It: Same as #1.

 

Sisters of the Neversea  by Cynthia Leitich Smith book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of three children wearing pajamas and flying in the air above their homes.

3. Sisters of the Neversea  by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Why I Want to Read It: It’s a retelling of Peter Pan. How cool is that?

 

Hola Papi- How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of the author wearing a sombrero and typing on a typewriter.

4. Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer 

Why I Want to Read It: This memoir looks like it will be a heartwarming, hilarious read.

 

Far Out- Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy  by Paula Guran book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of a magical woman in a blue dress who looks like she's doing a spell. There are twinkling lights around her.

5. Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy  by Paula Guran

Why I Want to Read It: I’m always interested in new queer science fiction and fantasy.

 

We Have Always Been Hereby Lena Nguyen book cover. Image on cover shows a rocky outcropping on an alien plant that has a huge moon in the sky.

6. We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen

Release Date: July 6

Why I Want to Read It: This book encompasses some of my favourite science fiction tropes like enduring radiation storms, exploring dangerous new planets, and seeing how humans react to androids who are nearly indistinguishable from them.

 

Cursed Bunny  by Bora Chung book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of an alert purple hare.

7. Cursed Bunny  by Bora Chung

Release Date: July 15

Why I Want to Read It: Honestly, the title and cover were what made this a must-read for me. I love rabbits and am so perplexed by the idea of them being cursed.

 

The Book of Accidents  by Chuck Wendig book cover. Image on cover is a black-and-white-photograph of a ghost standing in front of an old and possibly abandoned house in the woods.

8. The Book of Accidents  by Chuck Wendig 

Release Date: July 20

Why I Want to Read It: The Covid-19 pandemic has squelched most of my interest in horror, but Wendig is such a creative storyteller that I just might see if I can handle the scary stuff he comes up with. Plus, it’s Halloween-themed, and I love Halloween.

 

Cat Problems  by Jory John book cover. Image on cover is of a stressed-out cat sitting in a cardboard box.

9. Cat Problems  by Jory John

Release Date: August 3

Why I Want to Read It: Cats are enigmas to me in part due to my terrible allergy to them. I can’t be around them at all, so everything I know about them comes from the funny stories and occasional complaints people share about them online. The thought of a cat having a list of complaints about the humans in his or her life makes me grin.

 

Living Beyond Borders: Stories About Growing Up Mexican in America by Margarita Longoria book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of a man with a butterfly on his shoulder walking into a Mexican village.

10. Living Beyond Borders: Stories About Growing Up Mexican in America by Margarita Longoria

Release Date: August 21

Why I Want to Read It: To listen to the contributors’ perspectives. I’m also an immigrant and love reading about the wide variety of experiences that can be found in immigrants around the world.

Placid Revelations: A Review of The Lake

The Lake by Tananarive Due book cover. Image on cover is of lightning striking a lake in the middle of the night. Title: The Lake

Author: Tananarive Due

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Publication Date: August 11, 2011

Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Contemporary

Length: 21 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

A free short story taken straight from the pages of THE MONSTER’S CORNER, an all original anthology from some of today’s hottest supernatural writers, featuring stories from the monster’s point of view.

In THE LAKE, Abbie LeFleur, a lifetime Bostonian, who hides her scales, webbed feet, and an incredible hunger for people, has relocated to Graceville to start her life anew when she sets her eyes on a young student in her English class.

Review:

Every town has its own unique way of doing things.

Abbie’s character development was well done, especially given the short length of this piece. I loved picking out new clues about how she was changing as she adjusted to her new job and home. Sometimes they were subtle, but they always made sense given who she’d been in the beginning.

There was one small thing I never understood about this story, and it had to do with the way the citizens of Graceville reacted to a new person moving there. In my experience, secrets are nearly always quickly exposed in small towns whether they belong to the newcomer or those who were born there. It didn’t make sense to me that Abbie could have lived there for as long as she did without anyone stopping by to welcome her and give her advice. Whether or not this character would heed their warning was an entirely different manner, but I struggled to understand why it was never given in the first place.

The ending made me shudder. While this was firmly rooted in the horror genre, but it wasn’t bloody or gory at all. Instead, the author relied on hints about what might happen next to frighten her audience. I love this sort of horror and had a wonderful time imagining what a sequel might be like. If the author ever writes it, I’ll read it for sure!

The Lake is a solid summer read for anyone who enjoys psychological horror.

The Last-Chance Mission: A Review of Project Hail Mary

Title: Project Hail Mary Author: Andy Weir Publisher:  Ballantine Books Publication Date: May 4, 2021 Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery Length:476 pages Source: I borrowed it from my local library. Rating: 5 Stars Blurb: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Favourite Book and How I’d Cast It for a Movie

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. This is one of those topics I could write an entire book about. There are so many amazing stories out there that have either never been… Read More