Title: Callum

Author: Malorie Blackman

Pages: 61 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

In a hostile alternative society, the pale-skinned noughts are treated as inferiors by the ruling dark-skinned Crosses. Callum’s a nought. Sephy’s a Cross. In their world, they simply don’t fit – it’s as clear as black and white. But their childhood friendship has grown into intense, burning love. They have to find a way to be together. Then Sephy’s kidnapped, and Callum’s faced with a choice– his love for Sephy or his loyalty to his brother. Once that choice is made, there can be no looking back. An explosive and passionate short story, set during the timeline of Malorie Blackman’s original dystopian bestseller, Noughts and Crosses.

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(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

Callum is the short story that shows us more of Sephy and Callum’s final moments together. Following on from Noughts and Crosses we get access to the more intimate moments between the pair and we see how they used to be together before all the social politics and racism got in the way. 

This short story reminded me of the scene in Romeo and Juliet when they consulate their marriage and then have to part. It is the last time that they see each other alive. It is similar for Sephy and Callum. Sephy survives but the tragedy is still painful.

Since reading the wonderful Noughts and Crosses I have becomes determined to read the whole series. Even Malorie Blackman’s short story about Callum and Sephy has managed to pack an emotional punch and keep me hooked.

Callum by Malorie Blackman is available now.

For more information regarding Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) please visit www.malorieblackman.co.uk.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: An Eye for an Eye 

Author: Malorie Blackman

Pages: 99 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

In a world where the two classes are divided by colour and never treated as equals, Sephy – a Cross and daughter of a top politician – is six months pregnant. The child’s father, Callum, is a Nought, but worse, he is dead and Callum’s brother is out for revenge. Can two wrongs make a right?

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

An Eye for an Eye is the short story follow up to Noughts and Crosses that prepares us somewhat for the full length sequel Knifes Edge. 

In this short we see Jude, Callum’s brother, determined to act out his vengeful justice on Sephy. He blames her and all other Crosses for his brother’s death. What he isn’t banking on is Sephy feeling the exact same way.

Even though this is only a short story we see so much development in the character of Sephy. She has been forced to grow up and she now knows that life isn’t always fixable especially if you are a nought. 

We are also given a close up look at Jude who was relegated to a secondary character in Noughts and Crosses even though it was usually his actions that incited the most drama.

Blackman has been very clever in setting up Knifes Edge. The hope from Noughts and Crosses has been firmly stripped away and we are seeing a much darker and sinister story lingering. 

An Eye for an Eye by Malorie Black man is available now.

For more information regarding Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) please visit www.malorieblackman.co.uk.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Twin Evils?

Author: Olga Nunez Miret

Pages: 54 Pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

Once upon a time there was a pair of twins, a girl and boy. Ruth was blonde, blue eyes, very fair and really good. Max was dark haired, grey eyes, broody and bad. Their next door neighbour and pal, Hilda, tried to be friends with both but it was not an easy task. They didn’t like each other and she found herself in the middle trying to keep the peace. Max found his sister impossibly perfect and tiresome, and Ruth could not stand her brother’s bad boy attitude and his horrible behaviour. She was scared of him. Ruth was too perfect and child-like for the real world and Hilda suspected something was wrong but didn’t know what. Was she the angel everybody took her for? Was she ill? When both twins started talking about fate and said that “something” would happen she worried. What could she do? And indeed they were right. Something did happen.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Twin Evils was a quirky little story about how one twin is good and one is bad. This is then usurped and the evil twin comes good in the end…sort of.

Ok, I didn’t really enjoy this book. I read it in so much that I took in the story but the story didn’t take me. I found myself picking over the grammar mistakes and strangeness rather than being swept away. I was, in truth, reading it to get to the end.

It wasn’t the best story I have ever read.

Twin Evils? by Olga Nunez Miret is available now.

Title: My Purple Scented Novel

Author: Ian McEwan

Pages: 48 Pages

Publisher: Vintage Digital

The Blurb

‘You will have heard of my friend the once celebrated novelist Jocelyn Tarbet, but I suspect his memory is beginning to fade…You’d never heard of me, the once obscure novelist Parker Sparrow, until my name was publicly connected with his. To a knowing few, our names remain rigidly attached, like the two ends of a seesaw. His rise coincided with, though did not cause, my decline… I don’t deny there was wrongdoing. I stole a life, and I don’t intend to give it back. You may treat these few pages as a confession.’

A jewel of a book: a brand new short story from the author of AtonementMy Purple Scented Novel follows the perfect crime of literary betrayal, scrupulously wrought yet unscrupulously executed, published to celebrate Ian McEwan’s 70th birthday.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I have never read anything by Ian McEwan before and I am awfully glad I started with the delightful short story My Purple Scented Novel.

It is a story that explores the themes of friendship, professional jealousy, and human nature when presented with a moral and ethical dilemma. It is the kind of story that has you shouting at your protagonist to not do the thing you know that they are going to do and is absolutely delicious in its drama.

If, like me, you have yet to read a full novel by Ian McEwan then My Purple Scented Novel is a great introduction.

My Purple Scented Novel by Ian McEwan is available now.

For more information regarding (@vintagebooks) please visit penguin.co.uk/vintage/

Title: Derby Shorts

Author: Jane Bradley (Ed.)

Pages: 159 Pages

Publisher: Group Of

The Blurb

Presented by For Books’ Sake in collaboration with the London Rollergirls, Derby Shorts is a bold and brilliant anthology of the best new fiction from the roller derby track.

The ground-breaking collection is the first of its kind, and within its pages, you’ll find short stories of inter-team love, lust, rivalry and rebellion, rollerblading assassins in punk-apocalyptic London, brats and ballerinas turned derby superstars, and much much more.

Featuring emerging and established authors from across the UK, Europe, America and beyond (including roller derby players, referees and fanatics from all over the world), the stories in Derby Shorts rand from the bittersweet and beautiful to the brutal and bizarre, but keep one thing in common; their obsession with a sport and subculture far too fierce, fearless and exciting to stay underground.

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

As a child, every Saturday my mum took me and my big sister to a sports centre that hosted a roller disco. It lasted about an hour and a half and played 80s tracks that were in heavy rotation – if memory serves, my favourite one to skate to was Cocoon by Timerider most famous for being the theme tune to Hit Man and Her. Skating reminds me of freedom, of the feeling that I could fly and since then I have wanted to be a member of a Roller Derby team. Alas, I bruise like a peach so I don’t think it is the sport for me but if I was going to be a member of any sporting team it would be, without a shadow of a doubt, a Roller Girl.

It is probably this weird fascination with a sport I cannot play that led me to buying Derby Shorts. It is a quirky collection of stories that all have one thing in common. At the core of each story is a celebration of roller skating.

I read a lot of books of short stories and you usually get a small handful of ones you enjoy next to a bunch of fillers. I genuinely didn’t feel that way about this collection. Every story is enjoyable. The genres range from historical fiction to crime to sci-fi. No one has interpreted the spirit of the sport in the same way. It truly is wonderful.

Derby Shorts by Jane Bradley is available now.

For more information regarding For Books Sake (@forbookssake) please visit www.forbookssake.net.