Sunday, 14 August 2016

Signal Failure by David Wailing

Emily is heading home on the tube.  It's well past midnight and the train is fairly quiet.  Then it stops and all the lights go out.

This is a short(ish) story that's setting up for a bigger story.  It's quite insular and creepy.  The descriptions of the disused tunnels and rooms are very atmospheric and I felt like I'd been there.

After reading this taster, I'm definitely looking forward to the main course.

Chickens by Julie McLaren

Tony has just been dumped and he feels his life is going nowhere fast.  His colleague suggests he becomes a mentor to a troubled teenager and so Tony embarks on this new phase of his life.  But nobody knows that Tony was in care when he was a youngster, so this is the story of how he copes with trying to be a friend to a boy who doesn't want it and how Tony works through his demons from his childhood.

This is not a particularly happy story.  Tony struggles with connecting with Jordan.  The chickens are the only lightness to his life.  The story is part told in first person and part the emails Tony sends to both his mentoring contact and his ex-girlfriend.  I liked this mix of writing.

This was an easy read, I kept thinking of Tony when I wasn't reading it.  I also thought of Tony after finishing it.

Untouchable by Sibel Hodge

Untouchable is not a happy read.

Maya is the happiest girl alive as she goes to work.  She's absolutely distraught by the time she goes to bed as her boyfriend, Jamie, has committed suicide.  She has no idea why as she thought they were happy.  But we find out Jamie's story and he had the most hideous childhood.

The first part of the book swaps chapters with Maya's now and Jamie's past.  Maya's story is one of getting over bereavement and loss.  Jamie's story is the tale of his horrendous abuse in an orphanage.  The abuse is alluded to, not spelled out, but it's so sad what he and his friends had to go through.  Later on the story is about Maya trying to find out just what happened.

With books like this it seems wrong to say "I enjoyed it", but the storytelling was addictive to read.  I liked the way the story unfolded and the shocks that were given.

Monday, 1 August 2016

The Redemption Trials by Julie McLaren

Wayne is at his desk at the admissions hall to Hell.  Lottie enters and Wayne's life - or neverending death - is not the same again.  While he tries to get her to a better place, preferably not here, he finds out that it's not just her that's in the wrong place, but many others.  But Wayne doesn't car about them as he's maybe falling in love a little.

I expected this to be a bit more zany from the description, but it was more of a gentle road trip story.  The humour is subtle and I quickly grew to like Wayne's un-heroicness. He wants to do good by Lottie, but is a bit of a wuss.

I enjoyed this story as it was a little different to most things I've read.