I’m Not Dying With You

A collaboration from two female authors. This YA contemporary novel from Gilly Segal and Kimberley Jones features two teens, one black, the other white, who hardly know each other well in the beginning, but then get sucked into violence which starts at their school and ends up in the city streets.

Although this unusual YA story that is told from two different perspectives explores some topical issues that are worth paying attention to, I felt it didn’t hit all the right spots. It felt rushed in some areas, whereas in others it felt too convenient, like the authors just came up with this quick story idea because they had a subject they wanted explored at all costs.

Lena, the black girl is the cool stylish one, madly in love with a rapper who in many ways doesn’t show like he shares the same deep feelings with her. Many times over, she just seems like an afterthought. Campbell, the white half of the novel seems like the more grounded one. She is new to town, living with her divorced father after her mother has been forced by circumstances to accept a job outside the country.

I listened to the audio version of this book and the two voices did come out distinctly enough. The story’s two sides mesh quite well and subtle comparisons are made between the problems that black youths face and those that whites do. The idea was a good almost political one, but somehow the plot still didn’t rise to the great level that I expected.

It’s a three-star rating for me. If you have read this one tell me what you think.

Hustlers, another look at female struggles

Over the past weekend, I broke away from my usual routines and went to check out Hustlers, one of the movies showing, currently.

Starring long time crowd favourite, Jennifer Lopez, and up and coming Constance Wu, the hype surrounding it is not hard to understand. J Lo has a whole career behind her and certainly needs no introduction, while Constance Wu is the power behind Crazy Rich Asians. There is also a slew of other actresses to fill in the gaps, though none of them showed as much sparkle as the two leads. A smattering of males completes the cast, but they all were pretty much run of the mill, and none stood out. This probably may have been of the film makers’ design, for almost all males are drunk in this film.

Hustlers tells a story of struggle, of being a foreigner in a land going through hard times. Although the film starts when it’s 2007 and the US economy is doing well for many, it’s not until the financial crisis of the following year hits, that life really gets hard for our downtrodden MCs. The crimes they eventually go on to commit are understandable given the circumstances, after all it’s the richest bastards of Wall Street that they steal from.

Although I was initially drawn to the film with the hope of feasting on some eye candy, and the movie does not disappoint much on that score, I ended up getting hooked to the story’s desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures theme. J Lo shines in this arena, leading her pack of femme fatales to do things they could never have believed they could.

It’s the ending that I found a little underwhelming, because its predictable and undramatic.

Three and a half stars from me for this one.

Audio Books- My Recent Experiences

Audio books have become all the rage of late, and I am caught up in the craze.

For my part, though, it took a while to get attracted to them as my initial loathing for them had been so deep. Part of my objections stemmed from the fact that each time I took to one, it sounded like listening to a cassette tape or CD but without the music. All the time, my psychologically-conditioned mind would wait for the musical beat to come through but then it would only be the narrators voice and that didn’t take me long to get disappointed. Or the audio sometimes gave me the feeling of having gone back to my elementary or kindergarten years when were read to, since we couldn’t do it ourselves. I didn’t like that. Adult books were meant to be enjoyed in print form, and that’s how I wanted things to last forever.

Now not so any more. I have come to love audio books. The narrators voices transport me to heights I might not have reached had I been reading alone to myself. What a turnaround.

In fact what I have since discovered is that good narrators add dimensions to a story that the print version can’t have. They are like actors, and can convey a deep sense of emotion that makes you experience feelings you never would have had. It’s something I now wonder why I didn’t realize soon enough as I continued with my reckless bashing of audio. Today I know better.

Indeed much of the allure of audio lies in the voice of the narrator and I have to say my current favorite is Lorelei King. She is absolutely marvelous. She can inflect her voice in different ways to bring life to different characters in a story. Those who listen to books a lot may remember her from the popular Stephanie Plum series, but she is also the powerful voice behind Darynda Jones’s grim reaper series featuring Charlie Davidson.

Lorelei is in fact so good at her work, she made me grasp something I had completely missed. The grim reaper series is actually very similar to Janet Evanovich’s popular bounty hunter series! Charlie Davidson is a virtual clone of Stephanie Plum’s! This had never been apparent to me before — as I had sampled a few print versions of both authors. Now listening to Lorelei, it didn’t take me a second to make the connection — and Google even confirmed it. The plots and events actually mirror one another, except that one is more grounded in reality while the other is supernatural.

Kudos to Lorelei for making me get that, and I would have been none the wiser had it not been for her abilities. Audio books indeed add a certain depth to a story that print alone doesn’t have, and I think they will be around for a long time to come.

Happy listening to you all.

Heist: Cover and Blurb Reveal

After almost a year of steady effort, including burning the midnight candles, I am proud to announce that HEIST, my debut supernatural thriller, will publish on 31 October 2019, just in time for Halloween.

It features Buffalo, NY’s hard working witch hunter, Melanie, who must sweat to track a rogue mage who has just committed one of the most grievous magical crimes in the history of the whole wide world.

Here is the full blurb.

A vengeful ex in Buffalo, NY hires a witch to fix her former boyfriend who is just about to wed someone else. The witch, better known in her circles as ‘The Mage’, magically removes the boyfriend’s genitals and vanishes…

The case lands in the hands of powerful witch hunter and wizardess; Mel, the Breaker, Perkiss — who immediately starts a chase. She thrusts herself onto a deadly trail of treacherous black magic and malevolent beasts.

 Will Mel be able to corner the elusive mage, recover the taken ‘goods’ and save a doomed marriage, while bringing the perpetrators to justice?

Seriously I have poured my heart into this one, and tried to pack it with all the tension, humor and comedy that I am sure readers will love.

Do you think this is a story you might like to read? Hit me with some feedback.

A Grave Death by Victoria DeLuis

I am a recent convert to the Urban Fantasy genre and one author who has consistently produced storylines I love in this genre is Victoria DeLuis. She has the Rune Witch Mysteries, of which I binged through all the four tiles in short order. Following that, she has released a few other works that I have loved, but what I look forward to most is her current series, the Independent Necromancer’s Bureau (INB), of which only the first book has been released. It’s titled A Grave Death.
The INB is an outfit responsible for dealing with zombies, removing unwanted ghosts, and tracking down rogue necromancers. The M/C Cassie Dune is a sassy, fearless agent who gets the job done when she wants to.
In A Grave Death Cassie must hunt down a killer who not only has killed her friend and mentor but is also responsible for a couple other killings, and worse, has been known to animate corpses, turning then into murderous zombies.
What an enemy our heroine is up against.
I loved reading A Grave Death, discovering it’s world and characters through the exploits of it’s feisty lead. The pace is fast and the tension is palpable. The prose is clean and unpretentious, making the book very easy to read.
I recommend the whole Independent Necromancy Bureau series to anyone who would like to take on an Urban Fantasy series with a lot of promise.

MY RATING 5 Stars out of 5