MUSKAAN: THE STORY OF HER SMILE By Sneha Ganesh Review!

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MUSKAAN: THE STORY OF HER SMILE (2018) by Sneha Ganesh is a beautiful, heartwarming story. It is a short read that proves that with determination and support from those who love you, it is extremely possible to overcome adversity and society’s perceptions.

At four, the protagonist Muskaan realizes she is not able to talk and has no way to go about explaining her inner feelings about this or anything else she wishes to convey to her Mum and Dad. She also struggles to make friends with children who aren’t understanding of Muskaan having aphonia. Time moves on and Muskaan faces tragedy and grief when her father is killed in a plane accident. This story is told from two perspectives in two parts. The first section is told from Muskaan’s mother’s POV while the second is told from Muskaan’s POV. This gives us excellent insight into the two POVs from very different angles which added a lot of depth to the story. The reader both understands easily the mother’s love and want to understand how her daughter is feeling and Muskaan’s feelings of wanting her mother to understand her feelings as well as the obstacles she faces in expressing her feelings.

 

The story is immensely moving. Readers watch as Muskaan finally gets accepted into a school after countless rejections. We find out that Muskaan is a budding writer with a lot of talent and that she wants to go for a writing competition in her school. But there is one obstacle standing in her way: the competition requires the story to be read out. But thankfully help is at hand when Muskaan eventually makes a friend in Sanaya who agrees to read out Muskaan’s story for the competition.

 

I think the plot of this book is brilliant and the author writes it stunningly. There is so much packed into this story. Sometimes with shorter reads, it is more difficult to get all the required information into a story to really bring the reader on the journeys of the main character and the other characters. But Ganesh has did an excellent job here.

 

There is many important themes covered here including bullying, grief and the prejudice of society and the writer writes each of these topics with great authenticity. She paints a brilliantly human story with great background and a character who has her insecurities but who is a fighter and by the end of the story, the reader knows she will do very well in life despite the fact that there is many who want to knock her down and make her feel like she won’t succeed. Muskaan is my favourite character in the book. She has moments of feeling like she can’t succeed and that the non-supporters are right but she always battles back with an inner strength. She is a character who is very easy to relate to. I just wish I had half Muskaan’s writing talent!

 

To purchase MUSKAAN: THE STORY OF HER SMILE by Sneha Ganesh go to:

 

And for more about Sneha Ganesh and her work go to:

https://thesnehaganeshblog.wordpress.com/

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Friday Fictioneers: Interest In … History

 

 

 

 

 

Interest In … History

 

Sarah came to this 18th century place because of Andrew. She hoped if she showed interest in history, the handsome writing nerd would take her to bed. So far he was busy creating, excitedly telling her a tale about that old iron, imagining it been an iron some woman used to kill her abusive husband in self-defense. She pretended to be interested while she checked out his peachy behind.

I’ve got my own creative tales in my mind Andy.

‘Sarah, maybe we could go for a drink?’, he asked finally.

It’s not bed but it’s a start.

‘Sure.’, she smiled.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

Short Story: Friends, Laptop & Starbucks

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I put the password into my laptop and set to work on the book it seemed I was forever writing. My coffee cup in it’s Starbucks mug sat beside me as I sat by the window in my local Starbucks. As I got typing, passersbys and vehicles went about their business too. I began to get lost in my own world of heroes and sidekicks and magical forests with underlying secrets. Just as I was about to start into the mentor to the hero’s long speech about ‘saving the forest from forces beyond our control’ and figure out myself what exactly that meant, I was interrupted by my friends Oliver and Alex. Both of them had better career prospects than I did. Not something I would ever admit to either of them but deep down I knew it was true. I was a part-time cleaner, part-time writer. However Oliver owned his own business which sold LGBTQ+ merchandise and was in it’s busiest season currently with Pride coming up. Alex was a lawyer, first in their family to go to college, first in their family to become a lawyer. Oliver and Alex weren’t actually dating but I knew Oliver wanted to date Alex. Had wanted to for years.

‘So how is the book coming along Logan?’, Alex asked me.

I’ve forgotten the love interest’s name. He’s called something beginning with a J I think.

‘Ah you know, getting there.’

‘I started the first in your series. Will that villain be coming back in the next book?’

‘I’m holding her back for a few books down the line Oliver. But she will be making a return.’

‘Oh brilliant. I loved the complexity of her character.’

‘How is sales going?’

‘Great at the mo Logan. We sold a lot of the flags and badges. This is such a great season for us …’

Oliver began to raise his voice.

‘You know as members of the LGBTQ+ community with Pride just around the corner.’

Oliver looked around to see if he had got any attention. None.

I rolled my eyes. I had a laptop case with the rainbow flag and a trans pin and a pansexual pin stuck to it. To me, that was how you expressed pride, not shouting it from the rooftops in a café where most people, if not all, couldn’t care less.

‘I’m not part of the community, just saying.’, Alex said.

‘You’re hardly straight honey! You slept with Frank James last week and in case you hadn’t realized he is a man.’, Oliver replied, looking at the end of his tether.

An enchanted forest … stay out of their discourse.

‘I didn’t say I was straight Ollie. I don’t label myself.’

‘Well you’re a man and he’s a man so what would you call it?’

‘Firstly I’m not a man. I don’t label my gender either. And secondly we can decide what to label about ourselves and what not to. There isn’t any rules Ollie.’

The wizard’s cloak … 

‘People have been fighting for this for a long time and all LGBTQ+ people want is the security of an identity. Why are you been so cruel about it Alex?’

‘I never said anything about people not being entitled to use any label they feel like such as gay, pan, straight, bi or whatever or alternatively male, female, non-binary or whatever but I think the idea of security in your identity goes for people who don’t wish to identify as anything either so correct me if I’m wrong but technically you’re leaving people who don’t use labels out.’

A castle high on a hill overlooking a lake with a magical essence …

‘I think you just don’t want to admit you are gay Alex. And I understand. I’ve been there. It’s hard to accept even to yourself at the beginning …’

‘If I was gay, I’d admit it. I just don’t understand the sense in labelling feelings.’

‘But we label everything. If we listen to a certain type of music, we say we’re a fan of that musical style.’

‘Well it makes more sense than labelling feelings. Otherwise my blues collection might end up having Justin Bieber in it. With feelings if they like me and I like them, why would I need to label anything? In saying that if people don’t wish to call themselves blues, rock, pop or whatever fans, that’s ok with me. All these things from sexuality to gender to musical genres are created so we can all choose whether we want to identify or not as anything.’

A secret chamber in the castle … 

‘I’m proud to be gay. And it took me a long time to find a word to use when I was younger and figuring things out. What I feel is very real.’

‘I never said it wasn’t.’

A rescue at the castle … to be fair to Alex they didn’t say it wasn’t a real feeling. But Oliver announces he’s gay to people before he announces his name so I think these two are on completely different pages. Alex isn’t dismissing labels but if everything they believed in was what everyone believed in Oliver would be out of business. To be fair, I’ve had this debate with Oliver too and I have much the same feelings as Alex even though I identify as male, trans, pansexual, panromantic, allosexual, alloromantic and well a fan of cheesy 80s pop. Sure it is of course right for people to respect each other’s labels but it is equally right to respect peoples’ right to not use labels. Oliver doesn’t really have respect for the latter group of people and his guilt-tripping drives me up the wall.

Oliver and Alex continue to eyeball each other. But they’ll make up by tomorrow. They always do. I’ve got two thoughts:

I don’t think they will be getting it on with each other anytime soon.

And should I bring in a secret chamber when I have no use for it?

 

 

 

Winter Trials (Northern Witch #1) By K.S. Marsden Review!

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Winter Trials (Northern Witch #1) by K.S. Marsden is a wonderful short read.

The book follows Mark who is wondering whether or not to follow in his grandmother’s footsteps and become a witch. In the midst of this decision he meets Damian, the very attractive new lad at school who has come down to Yorkshire from London following the deaths of his mother and father to stay with his aunt.

I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say Damian is having a hard time and has a lot of fears going on in his mind which he feels he is all alone in handling. So enter Mark (And Mark’s grandmother, mother, father, best friend and best friend’s girlfriend along with Damian’s aunt plus half the established witches in the county thanks to Mark’s grandmother’s contacts) and suddenly he ain’t as alone with his problems as he once thought he was. Again not giving too much away but there is a rescue and all the suspense and drama that goes with that and a meeting of the witches just prior to Christmas. The author packed a lot into a short book here so kudos to her on that as that is not an easy job.

This book deals with an important issue in mental health, depression and suicide. Often in a lot of fiction this is older people going through these issues so I think it was important to show that this is something which affects younger people too and to show to younger people that suicide isn’t the answer and that life can improve.

There is a great variety of characters present in this book. Mark and Damian are both very interesting and compliment each other perfectly as a couple. But they are very different. Mark is a nerd in many ways while Damian is a bit cooler but their personalities seem to meet in the middle somewhere and they get each other and where the other is coming from. Mark’s grandmother is in my mind a hippie and she doesn’t really care less about appearances or what people think of her. She has dedicated her life to witchcraft because it makes her happy and hasn’t cared one iota about what others may say. She doesn’t care less about how she is supposed to act for her age and that is refreshing to see for an older person in fiction. I actually think minus the witchcraft I can see into my future and see myself when I’m older in Mark’s grandmother. Other characters who play a big role in this story are Mark’s best friend Harry and his girlfriend Sarah. I think they help add very much to the non-magical side of Mark’s life as characters who have no connection to magic or anything connected to it. Their support to Mark and Damian in the trials they face throughout the book are very sweet. And like Mark and Damian, they seem very well suited to each other. Mark was my favourite character but I loved the other characters too. Each character added something to the plot that would have been missing if they wasn’t there.

There is perfect balance between Mark’s magic world and his school/non-magic world. Readers get a good understanding of both sides of his life and how sometimes they cross over such as when he is practicing aura reading in the middle of Religion class. The dialogue in this book is great. Very natural. Very everyday. Which is completely the type of dialogue I love to read in books. There is also superb humour which you miss in some books as well-written as they might be. But here you get great writing with great wit mixed together and I loved that about the novel. It was very off-the-cuff humour, natural and down-to-earth.

The book ended on a cliffhanger as you would expect from a series. But the reader does get the impression that Mark and Damian will have a long-lasting or maybe even a forever love story with bumps on the road sure but you feel they will get past these bumps in the road together and also with the help of those who care about them.

It’s a brilliant book. I loved it.

To get your free copy of Winter Trials (Northern Witch #1) by K.S. Marsden go to:

 

And for more about K.S. Marsden and her work go to:

https://www.ksmarsden.com/

 

Book Review: One Step Closer – #1 by Lisa Reynolds

Thank you so much to James J. Cudney from This Is My Truth Now for his wonderful review of my first book in the One Step Closer series. Very much appreciated. 🙂

This Is My Truth Now


One Step CloserOne Step Closer by Lisa Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa Reynolds is an Irish blogger I follow. I read one of her books last year and was entertained by the wit and character relationships she created. Before continuing with that series, I wanted to try another one of her series to see which I preferred. While on vacation last week, I read the first book in the One Step Closer collection. Although the same tone and style were present in both books, this is a vastly different type of story but also one I enjoyed very much. I think I like this one slightly more…

One Step Closer is a televised music competition along the lines of American Idol and The Voice. It takes place in the UK and puts the contestants and the judges much closer together than I thought ever happened (could just be my…

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Second Chance Earth: Change Is Our Future By Alexander Elliott Review!


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Second Chance Earth: Change Is Our Future (2017) by Alexander Elliott is a really engrossing read with a lovable couple.

The plot of this book is that humans are dying away as a species and a mysterious Cloud contacts Scott Hayes to save the day. From the early pages you find yourself very intrigued by a very original plot. Very soon the Cloud has given Scott instructions on how he will go about this and one of them is that he must get another guy pregnant or alternatively get pregnant by this other guy. He is made the leader of the first community which the Cloud has brought together in their continued process of bringing the planet back to how it was before. So while the whole baby/babies-making exercise is very much a practical thing at the beginning, soon it becomes quite a pleasurable experience for Scott when he meets love of his life Tony Dodge.

Both Scott and Tony are very supportive and for each other’s best interests. That is very apparent from very early on in the book. Tony’s previous life had been very traumatic. He had been enslaved, beaten and raped over and over so gaining his trust is something Scott needs to do with the utmost patience and sensitivity. The whole leadership role is very new to Scott and it is Tony’s support and his loyalty and love by his side that seem to often get Scott through this huge upheaval and heavy amount of new responsibilities. They are both very good for each other. I think Scott’s and Tony’s relationship is beautiful. They have good chemistry and seem very suited and in love.

There is a few couples in this book who come together in the new community. I like them all and I think the author paired them all up well. I actually couldn’t imagine any of them with anyone else so that was a good sign. Tony is my favourite character. He has a lovely easy-going air about him and seems to have a really warm and caring heart. But I liked all the characters. They were a good mix. I also love the whole mix of sci-fi and romance in this book. It works very well together and there’s just about the right amount of both for lovers of either genre to enjoy the book and it is an absolute dream for those who love both genres.

My one issue with this novel was the idea that due to the deceasing number of women, something magic would have to be done by the cloud in order for every man left on the planet to get pregnant which leaves out a lot of men who are trans and some who are intersex. I feel that in a book about every bloke on the planet, it should include every bloke on the planet. The impression given was that no man can get pregnant without some form of intervention and that isn’t accurate so that is the one flaw I do have with this book.

The novel is most definitely a page-turner. I think this author has a really great gift for holding the reader’s attention and ensuring they read on further than they meant to in each sitting. It’s a very interesting and engrossing book with characters who you want to see it work out for. The setting of the community is very well described and paints vivid pictures of the various places in your mind.

A joy to read.

Unfortunately when I went to find this book to inform you all of the required download links, I couldn’t find it. Possibly the author has took the book down. I did get this on Amazon a little while back so maybe it has been took down. But I hope this review gives you all a taste of this author’s writing style nonetheless.

And for more information about Alexander Elliott and his work go to:

https://aelliottbooks.com/

 

Friday Fictioneers: Blending In

 

 

 

 

Blending In

 

From the outside it looked like any other house on the street. The home of an avid gardener. It blended in well. As did the woman who lived there. The old lady who walked her dog each day at noon, came back, did some gardening, kept to herself. Had lived there for years.

But the woman inside had no regular story. Occasionally some investigation would appear on television looking for a young lady who had went missing in her twenties years before. Possibly killed. But she was very much alive here among her plants and chilling with her dog.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/