Fretensis by Dennis Villelmi

Evening lovely readers 🙂

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Today I get to talk you about the pure indulgent creativeness that is Fretensis by Dennis Villelmi. I have to begin by apologising however; this review should have been released a while ago. Naughty, naughty Andrea. Be that as it may I will say that this book drew me in and caught my attention to the end.

Fretensis is a collection of prose that strikes the reader as dark and almost eccentric in it’s train of narrative. The imagery used is creative and thick like ooey gooey caramel poured seductively over velvet. I particularly liked the author’s use of a curious merging of Roman history, mythology, Christianity and everything in between; and of course the Legio X Fretensis.

For those who ask, the Legio X Fretensis is a legion of warriors that fought and were predominant in the period that saw the dissolution of the Roman Republic. They were, perhaps unsurprisingly, founded by Caesar. As many will know the Roman empire was full of dictators, Gods and debauchery anyway. I enjoy how the author ties all of this together.

There were particular highlights for me, where I felt everything tied together perfectly. For example, this juicy tidbit from the beginning really succeeds in setting the darker tone of the entire piece,

‘ But I am the one in whom reveries perish. I am the cemetery of dreams. Yet, between the east and the west of Caesar & Redeemer I can see the Leaden course of the mission flowing towards me. I can almost hear Jeudayn’s mother weep’

Here the imagery is steeped in a penultimate feeling referencing death and sorrow yet at the same time has a feeling of unjustified decadence, of Lords just out of reach of their peons.

Another section I particularly liked was one that struck very close for me. It’s one that resounds with such empathic emotion. It also signifies a theoretic movement in time from ancient Rome to more modern views. Who wouldn’t enjoy such a celestial comparison?

‘-I see the angel, hiding behind your eyes; I can see heaven, every time you cry.’

I know this could be taken many ways but I choose to see this in a heartfelt almost positive way. It shows that there is perhaps power behind everyone, the ability to make choices, and knowing how to make the right ones will bring happiness to all.

So, buy this book; you need it, you want it. The literary genius of the author, a wonderful friend of mine, shines through on every page from the imagery to language use, heck even to punctuation. Once you start this book you’ll need to finish it. You get drawn into a wonderfully dark World from which there’s no escape, not that you’d ever want to 🙂

Thank you 🙂

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No Way Home by J.S Collyer, Lucas Bale et al

Morning lovely readers 🙂

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Well, today I get to talk to you about the exceptional No Way Home, a collaboration of short stories from some brilliant writers including my wonderful friend J.S.Collyer. I was one of the people lucky enough to receive an advanced review copy and believe me when I tell you you will not be disappointed on reading this.

Now the only thing is where do I begin? The high calibre of the writing is maintained throughout the book with each author presenting a unique view on an almost dystopian sci fi future; each in turn with the underlying theme that there is no escape. Imagine finding yourself in such a hostile environment that you long to escape. What would you do to survive? Blackmail? Philander? Maybe even kill? or perhaps you come to realise that surviving isn’t an option at all? This collection gives us glimpses into a quality of life when seemingly all hope is lost and there is indeed no way home.

First I’d like to begin by mentioning the first story within this stellar book, To Sing of Chaos and Eternal Night by Lucas Bale. This particular story pulled a chord with me as there is quite a well written and shock provoking twist to the story. I won’t go into too much detail here as always but I have to say that as the story progressed I did not expect to find out what I did. Imagine living only for war, your previous life totally forgotten in the amount of times you have lived and died for the cause. You know only that you must fight, that you must kill. You are the only thing standing between humanity and outright extinction, or are you?? The imagery created within this narrative is very clear and succinct to the plot line. The cold harsh reality of the tools of war scream at you from the written word, the protagonists acceptance of his fate as unavoidable is clear as water. The language use is apt to show the brilliance of the intrigue; ‘It is a boy… I cannot understand why he has fired on me; why he would attack me at all. Across the colonies, Widows are renowned, legendary even. We are all that stands between the human race and it’s extinction…’ It’s here where you start thinking hang on a second, what’s really going on. The ending left me breathless but resolute in my liking of the story.

Next (and you knew it was coming lol) I’d like to talk about J.S Collyer’s story Grist. It was here that I felt very strong representations of excellent narrative tools. J.S manages to create a very strong sense of suspense throughout the whole narrative. You begin to wonder if there’s more to the World than J.S represents in the story. Why all the need to escape? There are no spoilers intended within this review but I will say this; what really struck me about this story was the portrayal of the protagonists relief at the end. You can literally feel a weight being lifted off your own shoulders. J.S is great at many things within the literary World but what always catches me is her ability to really bring to life the emotion in her work. As to the story itself, imagine everything you knew was ripped away from you. You are then thrust into a dark, grimy and hate filled World where you can never be sure who is friend and who is foe, enduring years of slave labour. What would you do to escape? How will you act when the desperation mounts? As mentioned before the emotion really comes through as does the imagery created. The World the protagonist finds themselves in really seems to shout of similar imagery to the bowls of Hell; it’s hot, the senses are burned away and everyone suffers. The language use itself is velvety and oozing caramel; ‘They say it’s the beginning of the end when you can no longer smell the grease. It’s the sharp, smoky smell, like hot copper, that gives bloodgrease it’s name. That and the fact that it turns a thick, dark red before the final filter.’ I know right? This ambiguous beginning, as this is where I got these lines, actually sets the scene for the protagonists suffering; why they are there, why they are needed. It’s a thrilling tale that leaves you gasping for more.

Finally I would like to mention the story by S. Elliot Brandis, XE, or People are Crazy. It’s in this story you can really feel the belief that not having all the information you need can askew your view of the World. As cliché as this sounds, what really attracted me at first was the title. Anyone who knows me will know that I love anything that is interesting and different. XE manages to keep that sci fi aspect but hello? People are Crazy? I need to read this. What follows is an intense story of hope, abject confusion, loss and ultimately betrayal. Much like J.S, S. Elliot is very good at projecting the emotion of the protagonist. I must admit, hearing the history of the character bought a small tear to my eye. The narrative itself is a study in misdirection and intrigue. Imagine you were sent to a colourful New World to see if it is indeed habitable. You were promised a life lived in peace should you succeed. You’re determined but scared. Everything seems to be going well, until you discover something small, something you never expected, which changes everything. The thing that stood out for me was the vividity of the colour represented in the story. You feel like you can actually see the World in your minds eye. The language use is just enough to blast your mind with creativity; ‘ His eyes flash open, made brighter by the glow of the blue sun overhead… Around him is a sea of Orange. Well, not quite a sea, but the effect is similar. Orange grass extends as far as the horizon…’ I love anything colourful and imaginative and this story has both in spades.

So, after all my non stop talking (I do that a lot 🙂 ), I can honestly say this is a book worth getting. It is a credit to the authors and all involved. It’s an ooey gooey slice of literary creative goodness which you need to get as soon as it’s out. You will not be disappointed.

Thank you.

Jessica by Helena Hann-Basquiat with J.S Collyer et al

Evening lovely readers 🙂

jessica6As promised here is my review of the riveting Jessica by some of the most talented writers you will find. Again I will be sounding like a broken record but I LOVE FANTASY. Heck I’d bathe in the damn thing if it were substantial enough to do so (yes I meant substantial, though not huge there is a fair bit of me 😉 ). I do however try to branch out on the genres I read as you can find some real gems in the most unexpected places. For example, if you get a chance please read my review on the awe inspiring Zero by J.S Collyer. Now I’m not usually one for sci-fi but the story was immense with in-depth scene setting and characters who you saw as human rather then plot points, but I digress… Jessica is one of these lovely little gems that reaches out and grabs you by the throat screaming READ ME, READ ME NOW and not once will you be disappointed that you did.

If you have not heeded my advice before pop on over to Helena’s blog now, she is one of my most favourite writers. There you will find a scrummy assortment of literary ooey gooey goodness that will leave you in awe of the very writer you seek. Helena herself is a writer and dilettante of such high calibre that I feel honoured to review her work. As icing on the cake this collection includes another of my most favourite writers, J.S Collyer. The author of Zero lends her literary genius to this collection to help complete the the dazzling effect of the overall narrative.

The book entitled Jessica is a bid to answer the question who is Jessica B Bell. It is essentially a horror story told from the perspective of other people with one character seeming to be the more main narrators throughout. Now if you have been on Helena’s website you’ll see the mysterious Jessica figure mentioned a lot, in both passing and as author of some fantastic narratives of her own. But who is she? What ensues is such an adventure of intrigue and questions for the protagonist Helena that you are left reeling even as you continue to read. We’re never treat to interaction with Jessica ourselves but multiple points of her life are related by those who have met her, those who have met her and gone mad and those who have met her and stopped themselves before they went mad. Is Jessica such a demon to be feared? The great thing about this book is that you can relate to the stories as you read them and I can’t talk for others but I certainly found my heart pounding as I read the horrors these tales related. Imagine mutilating your own face so you don’t speak of the demons you know are real? Or witnessing the birth of a demon child through the face of the mother, a mother who has been plagued by a demon voice for so long?

This collective narrative is very well written, encompassing the more thrilling aspects of horror without being too overtly gory. The language used is also exceptional in that it’s used to the greatest effect,

‘Then she twirled and sauntered away, though in my eyes her head twisted and her eyes stayed on me right until she was out of sight.’

I know right? Ahhhhhhh that was chilling and gave me the creeps at the same time, but I have to say one of my favourite sentences came from the very beginning of the book. It’s decadent and lavish and as if you’re rolling around in velvety caramel,

‘There are rumours that I keep a writer trapped in my basement, chained to a chair, writing stories by candlelight in her own blood on dirty yellow parchment, but I assure you, those rumours are exaggerations, darlings.’

It’s this level of creative genius that flows straight through the book. Undoubtedly it’s a brilliant piece of well written horror that you will find engrossing, thrilling, scary and unique. I urge you to pick up this book today as you won’t be disappointed. I really cannot say one bad thing about any of the writers as they all work in such an exceptional way that it really makes a literary geek such as myself happy.

Thank you 🙂

Zero by (the always exceptional) J. S. Collyer

Hi lovely readers 🙂

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As most will know I’m a bona fide fantasy nut; give me a World full of magic, swords, sorcery and adventure and I can be gone for hours. However, there are times where even I will branch out my literary interests and diversify to broaden my knowledge; also, who isn’t completely in love with Mr Darcy? 🙂 My first understanding of sci fi came from reading my mothers books. She had a fabulous series by the late Anne McCaffrey called The Tower and the Hive series; the first book The Rowan. I remember being taken by such strong female leads in a World where science and technology runs on the power of the mind. I love creative and original stories along those lines.

To which, Zero is the début novel from my wonderful friend, and admittedly my writing hero, J. S. Collyer. It’s a literary slice of ooey gooey space pirate cake that leaves you not only wanting but needing to know more, especially after your damn lucky eyes have taken in the epic ending. This is a multi layered piece rife with exceptional writing, adventure, in-depth character development, adventure and oh yes, lasers; but did I mention adventure? I was lucky enough to receive an advanced review copy and my goodness all I can say is: as soon as the sixteenth of August gets here buy this book, you won’t be disappointed.

Kaleb Hugo is a Service man through and through; he lives, eats, works and breathes that life like no other. He’s positive he’s the best, most focused soldier… until one fateful day he ignores the commands of his higher ups and moves the ship he’s in command of to attack a perceived weakness in the War. What came over him? To the public face Hugo is disgraced, demoted and hated; but in secret he is promoted to Captain of The Zero, a beat up space ship concealing more than just a dented hull; it’s a ship that can get under the radar and accomplish things most Service ships couldn’t. Hugo has to act as a contact for the Service, keep an eye on the missions and report back to his superiors. He didn’t, however, expect to find those on the ship that were loyal, steadfast and perhaps the only friends he could remember having. What would await them in their coming missions?

I cannot begin to tell you all the things which are great about this novel, but I’ll give it a jolly good go anyway. J. S uses such literary diversity that simply pulls you straight into the Universe she has expertly created. I love the velvety feel of language such as ‘Hugo had admitted to himself long ago that Death was something he’d accepted into his life like a friend. Or a lover. It followed him like a phantom.’ Now before you ask yes this is from the first page. Heck it’s the first few lines. I didn’t want to give too much away about J. S’s stellar narrative. However, this is just a small example of what I love about her language use. Unlike many authors, she doesn’t try to make the language too archaic and stiff (don’t ask me why but some authors think stories are better like that) but she keeps it natural and flowing allowing the narrative to just slip into your subconscious and hold onto your interest for many hours before you even notice. She also has an uncanny ability to not alienate readers by being too scientific, if you catch me. She smoothly traverses into the science part of her science fiction in such a way that even someone as daft as me can understand it and thoroughly enjoy it. This is what makes her such a stunning writer.

The part of the novel I really liked however is that J. S. manages to reach into my chest and crush my heart into a million pieces (God how over dramatic does that sound?). I won’t give any details away but there is a part of the narrative that I’m not ashamed to admit brought a tear to my eye. The crew must endure a soul destroying time and the adversity which follows not only at the time but a year later as well. You can really feel the emotion in the writing which in turn forcibly drags your emotions to the surface and waves them in your face. It’s been such a long time since I’ve felt such a response to a book that it had me enthusing about its author. It’s incredible.

Please, please, PLEASE buy this book when you can. Not only will you be getting a jolly great read but you’ll discover a literary World you may never have experienced before. You’ll love every minute. I’m still going to buy a hard back copy of the book and beg J. S. to sign it, it’s just that great.

Thank you 🙂

The Pustoy by Phillipe Blenkiron

 

Evening lovely readers 🙂

Today I am thrilled to be able to bring you a review of the excellent The Pustoy written by Phillipe Blenkinron and released by the epic Dagda Publishers. Within the intriguing cover, as pictured above, is a poetic journey of dark dystopia, paranoia and the stark rule of the dictatorial upper echelons. We are treat to some intriguing prose depicting various emotions using wonderfully detailed aspects and language. You will not be disappointed by this collection.

The book begins much as a novel does, setting the stage for a diverse narrative to follow. The beginning prose ‘Lev Solokov’ gives you a view of events from the point of view of a child. There seems to be an innocence flowing throughout the beginning, only interlaced with others cynicism but again said with innocence. You are introduced to the protagonist sat on a counter top watching the parents work in the kitchen. The parents indifference to the World around them:

“Dad put down the buttering-knife and strode

in to my Mum Lev Solokov, the new PM,

he read from the telly Well, he can’t be any worse

than the rest of ‘em

shows a fault present within most societies nowadays: they can be worse than the rest, you only need to wait and see. This early insight into a sinister World is only confounded by the belief that science has cured the economic crisis: it shows what amounts to a witch hunt neatly dressed in political niceties. They claim to have developed a way to detect who had a soul and:

“Not only that, they had found a means

of detecting who didn’t have one.

These people became known as the Pustoy.”

Wham bang, thank you mam… Lets not feed certain people, lets hunt down those who are different… this fantastically written slice of prose pie seems to be the beginning of a dressed up murderer seeking their kicks within legal means. No one will miss those that they fear, those that are perceived to be different.

Now, I picked the beginning prose to go into because it is a wonderful example of setting the scene. You don’t know what is to follow as the very nature of prose poetry is to be as abstract as you like; one moment you could be explaining the environment, the next it could be going into the personal thoughts of a character; but you know that was is to follow will be a wonderfully descriptive dark World of fear, intrigue and misguided politics. The Pustoy will not disappoint in this respect. You are treat to an atmosphere full of literary delights to immerse in and given from many aspects, in depth characters attained while not a lot of personal history given and a protagonist that is questionable in his beliefs and undeniably human.

The thing that really blew me away about this book; aside from the cracking story, the passion written into every line and the ooey gooey language use (anyone that uses the line “They only ever ‘et tu, Brute’ you in the end” is an automatic favourite of mine): was the lay out of each individual prose. Mr Blenkiron had an ingenious moment when he decided to set out each individual prose in an abstract way. There seems to be chaos in each set reflecting admirably the chaos of the World the protagonist now finds himself in. For example,

“Think of nothing.
                                     A box holds empty.

Depthless space –

                          Transcendental blind,

                                                       the 1D implosion.”

Tell me truthfully, how fabulous is that single section? The language use is so exquisite it sends shivers down your spine and makes you feel like you’re rolling in golden caramel… AND is a great example of the previously mentioned chaos. The lines don’t follow the generic set out of a book, they’re almost like scattered thoughts of a person broken by society. This fantastic level of writing is never broken through the book so the intense World never fades. It continues and will stay within your psyche for a very long time.

Please trust me when I say that if you’re a fan of prose poetry, or even if you like a bloody good read, you need to pick up a copy of this book. You’ll be left reeling from its intensity alone and will wish that there was simply more to sink your literary teeth into. You won’t be disappointed.

Thank you 🙂

The Best Medicine by Jessica B Bell

Evening lovely readers 🙂

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I’m sorry this post is coming out a few days after I promised it but due to certain health issues I am only coming back to my beloved laptop now 🙂 Just recently I have had the honour of being asked to review the exceptional Helena Hann Basquiat’s writing so every Friday I will post a review giving a thoroughly objective view of the book with a smidgens of personal opinion at the end… Oh who am I kidding? What follows is a passionate view of some amazing work that will keep your attention far longer than when you finish reading and will call you back time and again.

My first review is on the wonderful short story recently published in the above ‘All Hail the New Flesh’ by the epic Dagda Publishers. I can think of many words to describe the ‘The Best Medicine’ by Jessica B Bell; thought provoking, terrifying and heartbreaking to name a few. Could you survive the concequences of the mistakes you made in your life? Are you willing to lose those you love in the name of Science? Could you redeem yourself?

The story begins in such a poignant moment. You literally have no chance from the off set of the narrative; you are treat to such a sense of loss and heartbreak that you gasp and read on quicker to determine what had happened.The sentences ‘… The familiar loops and whirls of Helena’s bloody fingerprints on the glass as the World rushed by were something for Judy to focus on, but they were poor comfort – her daughter was gone. Left behind, and only twelve years old…’ Wait, wait, wait; what??? How fabulous is that language use? Within the first few lines you are given a narrative hook that you can’t tear away from and don’t even want to try. Sidenote; I also like that Jessica went on to kill quite a predominant aspect of her writer life Helena, or Helena Hann Basquiat. I found that an inspired twist 🙂

The story continues as Judy and Helena must escape their diseased dad/husband and try to survive escaping the diseased city to a place of sanctuary. Hang on, did I say diseased? Well it turns out Judy worked for a chemical company and the rest, as they say, is history. Imagine the guilt of knowing something your work contributed to created a race of diseased, zombie like beings. What was worse? The creation of the zombies or the deaths of the innocents they feed upon? The story is really jam packed full of vivid emotion. You feel their terror as they escape as if it were your own; you gasp as their desolation fills you; you cry at the lost soul lost so soon within the narrative. Such exceptional emotive language is used that you feel it within your very soul. Jessica uses description such as ‘mad chortle,’ ‘bloodcurdling laughter’ and ‘distended mask of pain and horror’ which gives you a sense of hopelessness and fear of the monsters that surround them.

One last thing I will mention is the ending; MY GOD the ending… At a first glance you may think ‘hang on, she told us the end at the beginning.’ You are, however, mistaken my friend. In a stroke of pure genius we are treat to a final twist in the narrative that leaves you gasping in fear and awe; it’s inspiring and terrifying and you’ll love it but I won’t tell you what that is here 🙂

I will leave you now by merely stating that you NEED this writer; her work is inspired and you won’t regret reading her. Search her out now.

Thank you 🙂

Helena

Evening lovely readers 🙂

This is just a quick post to say keep an eye on my blog. As of tomorrow I will begin to post reviews on the exceptional work of Helena Hann-Basquiat, or Jessica B Bell as some may know her as. She is without a doubt one of my favourite Lady authors and I was honoured she asked me to review her work 🙂 so keep tuned.

Thank you 🙂

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