Title: Losing Heart

Author: Donna Brown

Pages: 83 pages

Synopsis

Helen is waiting for her pager to buzz. With every hour that passes she loses a little bit more faith; the buzz that she is waiting for will save her life. When her pager finally beeps it is to let her know that there has been a matching donor found to give her a new heart.

However, with this new heart comes dissatisfaction. Helen feels like the life that she is living isn’t doing justice to the gift that she has been given. She decides to live life to the fullest.

There is only one problem with this plan and that is Marian. Marian is the mother of the heart donor and she seems intent on forcing herself into Helen’s family. And there is damn little that Helen can do to stop her.

Review

Ok, I know I have moaned about my dislike for the short story but after reading Losing Heart you could have knocked me over with a feather. It was damn good. It felt like a much longer story. Every detail was so concise and believable. The character of Marian was truly terrifying in her subtle intensity, her deviousness and her furtive and underhand actions.

The really clever thing about Losing Heart and indeed Brown’s writing is that she made the character of Helen so reprehensible at the beginning, her attitude and animosity and sheer nastiness made her very unlikable but you couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Helen’s whole life was controlled by this conniving woman and Helen became trapped in her own life. This is pretty powerful stuff!

So far, Losing Heart has been one of the best short stories that I have read this year and is going into the ranks of books that have helped change my mind on this form of writing. Well done Donna Brown.

Losing Heart by Donna Brown is available now.

You can follow Donna Brown (@_mrs_b) on Twitter.

Losing Heart

Synopsis

A satirical (if not frighteningly accurate) look at the scientific developments that have the potential to shape our future.

Review

I will never claim to be one of life’s great thinkers. I hold a fair level of intelligence and I can hold my own in topical debate. However, the dirge of my academic life has always been science (closely followed by maths). I just never took to it as a subject. In actual fact I failed my GCSE exam in it but shrugged it off in a “That’s life” sort of way.

As I have gotten older I admit my curiosity has peaked (not enough to re-sit my science GCSE – this was recently offered to me by my former science teacher who is now my colleague in my place of employment) and I take a more active interest in how science shapes our lives.

This inquisitiveness led me to The Shape of Shit to Come. I must say that this is a brilliant book – not just because of the fascinating topics that it covers (robotics, space travel and jellyfish to name but a few) but also because it is damn hilarious. The chapters are peppered with funny little intrusions from the authors and quite frankly their ludicrous interludes provide comic relief to, what comes across as, some seriously scary science.

I still wouldn’t say that I am totally clued up about all the recent advances in science but I know I won’t be put off by books about these contentious issues either. If science is your passion then this is definitely a book for you. If, like me, you have a growing scientific curiosity then give this a try. What you may lack in smarts when it comes to understanding the technical stuff you can more than find amusement in the writing style.

The Shape of Shit to Come by Alan McArthur and Steve Lowe is available now.

The Shape of Shit to Come

Synopsis

When Leah Harvey catches her fiancé Doug having sex with her bridesmaid the day before the wedding she flees in anger. Things continue to go pear shaped when the car she steals (from her now ex-fiancé) breaks down. In the middle of rural Scotland. During a freak blizzard. Whilst she is still wearing her wedding dress and heels. Deciding that there is no other option but to walk to the light flickering in the distance, Leah braves the storm and heads towards a lonely cottage in the middle of a field.

In said cottage is Rob, American but from Italian descent, he has come to Scotland for the chance to be alone. To wallow in self pity. To drink himself silly on whisky and hide away from all the Christmas cheer. That is until a half frozen bride turns up on his doorstep, passes out and ultimately turns his world upside down.

Review

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson has to be classed as one of the better Christmas based novels that I have read as part of my #Festive Feature. This is not to say that the others were not good, some of them were brilliant but Cold Feet at Christmas just had so much warmth and heart to its story.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Rob and Leah. However, as much as I loved them I wanted to bang their heads together for both being so similar, so stubborn and so damn argumentative. Yet this is what is great about this romance novel. The build up to their union was so delicious. We can see how much they are meant to be together; their sexual trysts provided the proof of that but like all good writers Debbie Johnson left us wanting more with each chapter until the tension reached its sparkling crescendo.

This book did truly leave me satisfied as a reader of the romance genre. I finished reading it feeling the frisson of magic, the warm and fuzzies through the love and with a smile on my face that comes with the comforting knowledge that the writer hasn’t left you with anything ambiguous to darken your day.

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson is available now.

You can follow Debbie Johnson (@debbiemjohnson) on Twitter.

Cold Feet at Christmas

Synopsis

Long distance relationships are never easy. It is even more difficult when 50% of the partnership is in prison. Yet this is what happened in Yours for Eternity, the real life story of Damien Echols and Lorri Davis. Echols was wrongly accused of murder and spent a total of 18 years in jail and on death row. After watching a documentary about the case Davis was inspired to write to Echols and what began as friendship developed into love.

Review

Echols and Davis’ love story is the focal point of this narrative. It is almost incomprehensible that the couple managed to sustain their love in such dire and murky circumstances. However, that is the one thing that you do not doubt in Yours for Eternity. It is almost overwhelming and I guess at times it is also a little scary. Their love is so powerful it almost jumps off the page.

Some could argue that it is in poor taste to release a book like this – exposing not only themselves but also their love, something that is personal but overall it kind of gives people hope. If a love can be sustained in such desperate measures then surely other people in the world can make their relationships work?

The book was a fascinating account of the American judicial system and how sometimes we put our trust in things and people and they can let us down. It was also an eye opener in the sense that having never been in prison myself I was invited into a world – a truthful real life account – which I have no other way of knowing about. The loneliness, isolation and sheer depressing nature was cleverly – yet I am guessing, not intentionally – juxtaposed with the hopeful optimism of bourgeoning love. It was very dramatic.

I won’t lie to you, this wasn’t an easy book to read and unlike a fictional story there is no easy build up to a conclusion. You begin to feel as desperate as you would imagine Echols and Davis to have felt. There seemed to be no reprieve from the prison sentence. Yet the ending just appears – bang – out of nowhere and you feel like the story is done. And as much as I have sung the praises for the love story between these two characters, once again, it isn’t easy to read about. Love hurts and this is an even more harsh account of the daily toils of a relationship. So if you are looking for something that is light and fluffy, this isn’t the book for you, however, if you want something gritty, experience expanding and don’t mind a little realism then pick up your copy today.

Yours for Eternity by Damien Echols and Lorri Davis is available now.

Yours For Eternity