Book Review: A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan

A portable shelter kirsty logan book cover

I’m going to tell you a story.

This was a spiderweb of a book: a collection of short stories deftly threaded together. Ruth and Liska are expecting their first child, and have retreated to a tiny cottage on the north coast of Scotland. They have agreed to only tell their child truths, however both are telling it stories; Ruth in the day while Liska is at work, and Liska at night while Ruth sleeps. The collection is made of the stories they tell.

And what stories! Selkies and circuses and dragons and bicycles. The ordinary and the magical; the ordinary as magical, and vice-versa. Stories of love and loss and hard lessons and hope. Through these tales, we catch glimpses of the women doing the telling. Of who they are and where they’ve beena and how they see the world. It is wonderful and weird – reading it felt a little like catching a werewolf mid-change: scary, magical, and impossible to look away from. I found myself intrigued by the layers; the stories and the people behind them. I admire Kirsty Logan’s skill in telling us a big story by telling lots of little ones (though of course this is not a new technique). This book is a gem, and one which I think will stand-up well to re-reading.

Rating: read this book, and dive down into the salt.

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Book Review: Hurricane Heels by Isabel Yap

hurrican heels art by denise yap

A long time ago, in the space between dimensions, two beings were formed from the matter that filled the hearts of every living thing.

So this is one big story, told in five short stories from the points-of-view of five female friends. Who happen to have magical powers and save the world on a semi-regular basis. Yes it’s magical girls! I have to admit to not having watched or read many magical girl stories at all, but this book was brilliant and I still enjoyed it, although I probably missed some of the trope subversions.

One of the great things about this story is that the women have, at this point, been fighting the forces of darkness for ten years. And those forces are actually terrifying: strange grey monsters that appear out of nowhere to wreak havoc. There’s a real, tangible sense of fear. If things go wrong, people will die. As a reader, there’s a definite feeling that even if there is a fairytale ending, it might not be one of the good ones.

The five characters are all really strong, very different from each other with their own internal struggles. I wasn’t very well when I read this book, so a lot of the details were lost in the fog of a SuperMassive Headache (I’ll just have to read it again), but there’s a general impression of “awesome” that remains. I especially liked the fact that all of the women were having normal, growing up and being an adult difficulties as well as saving the world difficulties. One of them, wonderfully, was an anime nerd who loved magical girl stories – it sounds cheesy but it worked really well.

So, here we have a fab book with five main characters – all women – who kick arse and take names and manage to stay friends (and in some cases, girlfriends), with some great illustrations by the author’s sister. It’s touching and honest and heartwarming. I mean, what’s not to like?

Rating: Read this book. Put on your magical earrings and beat up some monsters (we’ll go for drinks after).

Locus poll and survey

Soooooo, here I must admit that I do not usually pay much attention to awards: I have a tendency to quietly live beneath a rock and emerge only briefly for basic necessities or if my friends poke me. I find new books by a) wandering into bookshops or libraries and browsing b) recommendations from friends, or c) mystical messages from the great beyond communicated to me via carrier pigeon, smoke signals or messages in bottles left outside the aforementioned rock…..

HOWEVER, something rather exciting has happened! Which is that The Life and Times of Angel Evans (my debut novelette) is on the Locus Award ballot *insert expressions of disbelieving excitement here* and and and I don’t really know what to do with that information – it has reduced me into a weird mess of nervous excitement because people read my work and liked it!!!!!!!

Ahem. So, I’m off to actually vote in the Locus Award ballot-ma-thing. And if you have read and enjoyed The Life and Times of Angel Evans, please do consider voting for it (it’s in the category Best Novelette). Click here.

If you haven’t read it and you would like to (it’s got magic, a ghost, dead prophets and the end of the world), click on the image to the right of this post and you’ll be redirected.

Thank you to everyone who’s read, reviewed, critiqued and enjoyed – it’s wonderful that Angel Evans has come this far 🙂

I’m now returning to my rock – reviews again next week 🙂

Celebratory Post! Locus annual recommended reading list

The Life and Times of Angel Evans has made its way on to the Locus annual recommended reading list! The entire list is here. This post is basically the equivalent of me having a tiny, one person party. YAY! Thank you very much – I really did not think this would happen.

So anyway, in celebration of how far this story has come, I give you some photos of the very beginnings of it. Behold, the first six pages of The Life and Times of Angel Evans, as written on the note pages from my diary at the time. And also the notebook that I wrote the rest of it in. Thank you for reading it, reviewing it and enjoying it. And many thanks to the BookSmugglers, who love the story and edited and published it 😀

You can read The Life and Times of Angel Evans by following this link. There is an option to buy the ebook at the foot of that page; buying the ebook means you also get an essay and an interview with me 🙂 The Life and Times of Angel Evans is also included in Superheroes Reborn: Five Origin Stories (and all of the stories in there are fantastic!). Follow this link and scroll down.

The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

Look it’s here it’s here it’s here! Publication day! You can now read my short story for free by following the link! Of course, if you are able to buy the eBook it is much appreciated, however do go ahead and enjoy it in whatever format works for you. And if you like it, tell all your friends 🙂

The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith DebonnairePublished 09/13/2016 | 16,757 Words Doctor Who meets Good Omens in this new short story from Book Smugglers Publishing. When Angel Evans was born into her world, the event was beset with a troubling number of prophecies. Her magical future was so portentous that all of…

via The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

A Smugglerific Cover: The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

It has arrived! Behold, the beautiful cover of The Life and Times of Angel Evans. Isn’t the art incredible? I know I love it. You can buy the ebook today, or wait until it’s available for free on the BookSmugglers website (which will be on the 13th Sept). I hope you enjoy this short story – in case you’re wondering it involves a) a heroine b) a friendly poltergeist c) some dead prophets d) MAGIC!

In which we reveal the cover for The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire! Today we are thrilled to share with you the final cover for Book Smugglers Publishing’s Superhero season of short stories. Without further ado, BEHOLD! The smugglerific cover! About the Story Doctor Who meets Good Omens in this new…

via A Smugglerific Cover: The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

The Indigo Mantis by E. Catherine Tobler — The Book Smugglers

This is the first story in the Summer 2016 Superhero theme from the BookSmugglers (which, full disclosure, I have a story in), and I have to say that it is fantastic! A very original piece of work that made me laugh more than once, and a wonderful riff on the detective genre. I’ve never before felt quite so emotionally invested in the wellbeing of a bug. You can read it for free, so do go ahead and check it out – the link is below.

The Indigo Mantis by E. Catherine ToblerPublished 05/24/2016 | 5,726 Words A crime-fighting praying mantis avenges her father’s murder in E. Catherine Tobler’s The Indigo Mantis Since witnessing her father’s murder, revenge has been on Indi’s mind. A mantid with a vendetta, Indi has searched her tree high and low for the murderer. In the…

via The Indigo Mantis by E. Catherine Tobler — The Book Smugglers

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