Book Review | Abomination by Jane Dougherty

Book Review | Abomination by Jane Dougherty www.aliisaacstoryteller.com
Book Review | Abomination by Jane Dougherty
http://www.aliisaacstoryteller.com

So I read this book last week. It’s called Abomination and its written by author and blogger Jane Dougherty. Now, before I go any further, you need to know something; we may never have met in the flesh, but Jane and I are friends. Gasp! I know, how can that be? Even worse, we actually wrote a book together. So of course I’m going to be fawning all over her new offering, right?

Wrong. I do my best to write my reviews with integrity and honesty.

I may be an author who is friendly with other authors, but despite this fact, and in spite of what Amazon thinks, it is still possible to write a review honestly and truthfully.

Now the likelihood is, because I know the author, and we have read each others books, and even co-authored a book, there is a good chance that we might actually genuinely enjoy each other’s writing and style.

Amazon doesn’t think this is possible. So I will have to think carefully about whether I post a review there and risk getting banned. Maybe I will just be a rebel and do it anyway.

In any case, this is my blog where I can write what I like, and frequently do. So, enough waffling, I have stated my case, lets get on with the show. Or the review, at least.

Abomination is the first in a series called The Pathfinders. This book is published by Finch Books and is currently available as an Early Download at €6.08 in their online book store. It goes on general release on March 22nd 2016.

I had to laugh when I visited its book page; it comes with the following warning;

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of physical abuse, sexual slavery and violence and references to child murder.”

I can’t imagine anything which would please Jane more! It may put parents off, but every teenager in town is going to want to read it now!

Ok. It hardly sounds like a book for Young Adults, I’m sure you’re thinking, but relax; Jane knows what she’s doing. You can’t wrap young people up in cotton wool and pretend we’re living in fairyland. These are real issues going on in the world all around us, and our young people need to be made aware, not made vulnerable and ignorant by hiding the truth from them.

Having said that, whilst Jane doesn’t pull any punches, she knows where to draw the line. She is a mother of teenagers herself, and so am I. There is nothing in this book I wouldn’t want my fourteen year old son to see, and he will tell you I’m pretty strict on age limits for books, games and movies!

So what’s it about? Here’s some of the blurb;

As the end of the world begins, Carla and Tully hurtle through a wormhole five years forward in time, only to find they haven’t missed the Apocalypse after all.

“Carla and Tully are picnicking in the quad of their international high school in central Paris when the end of the world begins. They are sucked into a wormhole that spits them out five years later to find that the world is a freezing desolation but still hanging on, waiting for something even worse to finish it off. The something worse turns out to be the Burnt Man and his horsemen. Taken prisoner by the Flay Tribe to their lair in the ruins of a shopping mall, Tully is forced to become a warrior, while Carla joins the other girls as a kitchen slave and comfort woman.”

I’m not giving you any more. Go check it out and get yourselves a download whilst you’re at it, that’s your best bet.

This book reminded me of Lord of the Flies; it had that same sinister atmosphere. It’s unnerving to see how brutal our sweet, precious children can become when left to their own devices in a deadly game of survival.

But as violent and aggressive as they are, there’s someone out there who’s even more terrifying, even more savage, and who ultimately holds all the cards. Daily life brings the ever more urgent search for food as supplies dwindle; attack from mutant creatures which lurk in the shadows, always looking to feast on tender human flesh; and the ever-present danger of gang warfare with the other ‘tribes’ prowling beyond their defences.

In Tully and Carla, the author presents an alternative way forward, in which rationality, strength, determination and compassion can prevail. If they get the chance. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not perfect heroes; they’re real human beings that every reader will be able to identify with. They have their own particular character flaws, they make mistakes, but they are resourceful and learn to deal with them.

Some of the characters are pretty nasty. We’ve all met bullies like them. My only gripe with the book concerns one of them; Flo, madam and supervisor of the girls, a thoroughly vile piece of work, holds great potential as a villain, yet just as she gets going with her dastardly plan, she is killed off. Personally, I would have liked to see how the story could have developed under her influence.

This book may be for young people, but it does not come with a happy ever after. Although it stands alone as a complete story in itself, the ending makes it clear that there is more, much more to come, and I for one am tagging along for the ride down that next wormhole.

You can buy this book now on Finch Books online store.

Remember, it goes on general release on March 22nd 2016.

You can find out more about Jane on her blog, Jane Dougherty Writes.

Sarah Zama’s Thursday Quotables and Me

Letting Go Coverjpeg (2)Not so long ago, I gave away a free download of a short story I had written, and thought nothing more about it. (You can get your free copy here, if you missed it first time around.)

Imagine my surprise when I opened my email notification from Sarah Zama’s beautiful blog, The Old Shelter, and found it was all about me! Or rather, my short story, Letting Go.

You can read what she had to say about it here. Thanks so much, Sarah, I am honoured and delighted; it was a lovely surprise, which made my day.

A Day of Surprises

Sometimes, lovely things happen unexpectedly, and you just want to shout about them, not to show off, although I can see why some may think that, but just because they make you feel happy. So I’m going to tell you about two things which happened today, which made me feel very happy.

First of all, I woke up to a tweet about my first book, Conor Kelly and The Four Treasures of Eirean. It had actually been read, and reviewed, and featured on a book blog! Now, that may not seem anything out of the ordinary for an author, you might think, and for some of you, it’s probably fairly run of the mill.

But for me, every time some one reads my book, I still feel surprised and delighted. If they have actually paid for it with their hard-earned spondoolies, I am doubly honoured. And if they take the time to write a review, I feel gobsmacked and proud… after I have picked myself up off the floor first.

The novelty still hasn’t worn off, even after all this time. I don’t think it ever will.

So today, my heart-felt thanks go to Cathy of Between the Lines Book Blog for her lovely review, and to Alison Williams Writing who tweeted it and brought it to my attention. If you want to read it, please click the link above to Cathy’s blog. You both made my day!

Secondly, I had another article published on Irish Central. I know that’s not so unusual, but I haven’t felt this way about an article I’ve written since I wrote about reincarnation; some topics, really get to you, I suppose.

The good thing is, quite a few people have visited the blog after reading it, which is really nice, and also makes me feel happy. So hi and welcome to anyone who has just popped over from IC, and to those of you who haven’t, here is the intro and a link to the article (it’s about fosterage in mythology and pre-Christian times, if you are interested);

“Ireland has a strange history when it comes to the care of its children. Sometimes, it seems as if they were treated as possessions to be traded rather than flesh and blood to be cherished, our country’s future.

“We have a dark legacy to come to terms with, as we discover pits at nursing homes packed full of the remains of babies and young children; stories of babies torn from mothers at the Magdalene laundries and given into slavery in exchange for a donation, and people within living memory who have no idea of their true identity because they were adopted or fostered outside of the law.

“In ancient times, fosterage played an important role in Irish society, but the process was governed by strict and complex rules as specified in the Brehon Laws.” Read more…

Book Review | Valentine Joe by Rebecca Stevens

I am very pleased to be reviewing books for Children’s Books Ireland and Inis Magazine. CBI is the national children’s books organisation of Ireland. Through their many activities and events they aim to engage young people with books, foster a greater understanding of the importance of books for young people and act as a core resource for those with an interest in books for children in Ireland. 

Children’s Books Ireland publishes Inis magazine three times in the year. Each issue contains a rich array of children’s literature articles and features, as well as in depth reviews of new titles for children and teenagers. This is my first book review for them. You can see it here.

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Following the recent unexpected death of her father, Rose travels to Ypres in Belgium with her Grandpa to visit the graves of the fallen soldiers of the First World War. There, she finds herself mysteriously transported back in time, where she meets fifteen-year-old soldier, Joe.

Stevens vividly recreates the atmosphere of the war, whilst shielding younger readers from its more gruesome details. Her characters are engaging, from Grandpa with his comical and mildly annoying habits, to grieving Rose, who is struggling to come to terms with her bereavement, to the plucky and loveable character of Valentine Joe himself.

After a gentle start, the pace of the story picks up, the sights and sounds of the city of Ypres, past and present, propelling us along in the wake of our heroine, lending authenticity to her adventures.

A month before his sixteenth birthday, on the morning of his death, we find ourselves in the trench alongside Joe and Rose. Whilst Rose professes her sorrow and despair throughout the story, I didn’t really feel it, and it seems to me a missed opportunity which distinguishes a good book from a great one.

Having said that, the author does an excellent job of highlighting the shocking issue of the boy soldiers, and effectively brings the atrocities of war to life.

With its clear, simple language, its teen love theme, and its young female hero, this book is ideally aimed at girls.


I am currently reading ‘The High Hills’ by Jill Barklem, and ‘FishOut of Water’ by Natalie Whipple. My reviews must be submitted by 9th April.

Book Review | Tiger in a Cage by Allie Cresswell

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Click the image to buy this book.

When I realised that the main protagonist of Allie Cresswell’s latest novel, Tiger in a Cage, was not quite the heroine I had believed her to be, I was quite taken aback; I had not seen it coming. I didn’t want to believe it. But rather than leaving me disappointed, the author had me enthralled, my interest firmly anchored in this character I wanted to despise, but couldn’t. Cresswell had managed to get me on the side of someone who, in real life, I would probably have no time for.  Continue reading

Book Review | PANAMA by Craig Boyack

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Click image to buy this book. You can find Craig on his website http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/

I took Craig Boyack’s Panama with me on holiday, and it proved to be a great choice for a holiday read. It bowls along at a fair old pace with plenty of action and a good helping of dialogue, all of which combine to keep the plot flowing nicely.

The two main characters, Ethan and Coop, are instantly likeable. Ethan is an ex-army cowboy working in the freight business, who is selected by President Roosevelt specifically for his unique ability to see and communicate with the dead. Ethan recruits Coop, a wannabe voodoo witch doctor, as his trusty sidekick and together they are tasked with an under-cover mission to prevent civil war from breaking out over the Panama Canal whilst also investigating some rather sinister supernatural goings on.  Continue reading

Book Review: Cornerstone; Raising Rook by KA Krisko

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I really enjoyed this book. It gripped me from the start and wouldn’t let me go until the last word was read.

Krisko has a unique imagination when it comes to building her fantasy worlds. This is the reason why I like her work so much. Unlike the Stolen series, though, Cornerstone; Raising Rook takes place in our own familiar world, yet the story it tells is anything but familiar. One suspects this from the very beginning, with the enormously atmospheric artwork on the cover. It builds a certain level of expectation, and Krisko does not disappoint.

You might describe Lorcas, the main protagonist, as one of life’s losers. A graduate in Wildlife Biology and Graphic Illustration, his life is a lonely one in terms of his career choice, his recently failed relationship, and his friendships. With his father dead, and a strained relationship with his mother, Lorcas, who is suffering from depression, decides to take off to his family’s abandoned summerhouse on the coast.

On the cliff above the summerhouse lies the cornerstone, the rock which his eccentric father gave him as a gift on his thirteenth birthday. Suddenly, Lorcas finds himself compelled to collect more stones, in an attempt to rebuild the castle which once stood there.

So Lorcas is drawn into a surreal adventure, in which he soon becomes part of the local community, a group known as the Fell Ken, who all share the same goal. And Lorcas discovers that he is the prophesied Lorecaster, destined for magical greatness.

Whilst all the trappings of Lorcas’s life are normal and recognisable to us, Krisko skilfully and unobtrusively immerses us in the magical, the fantastical. Gradually, the history of the castle and the Fell Ken are revealed to us as Lorcas himself learns them. And strangely, it doesn’t seem unnatural.

Most fantasy stories detail an epic battle between two opposing forces, good against evil. In this story, it becomes increasingly hazy as to which side is good, and which is evil. Whilst rooting for Lorcas, I couldn’t help feeling that some of the actions taken by his new friends are unusual, not quite acceptable. As I read on, I began to feel suspicious about the Fell Ken’s intentions, doubting which side Lorcas is on, yet couldn’t put my finger on anything definitive. I hoped I was wrong.

Whilst the story is complete and self contained, it ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger(pardon the pun, for those who have read it!), implying that there is a sequel in the offing. I sincerely hope so!

This is masterfully written, subtle, convincing, surprising. I recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy, but is sick of the same-old, same-old. Krisko’s writing is fresh and original, and Cornerstone; Raising Rook is as much a tale of magical realism, as it is of fantasy.