(digital copy supplied by Kevin Kennedy for an honest review)
Won’t You Open the Door? by Steve Stred: As young children, it is hardwired in our brains to fear certain supernatural beings. As we venture into adulthood, those same unnatural beings still frighten us, whether in word form or on the movie/television scene.
There isn’t one supernatural being I’d mock with. I’d definitely not trifle with a witch. Dead or alive, they are powerful. Ezkiel, his brother and family, and even his best friend Oliver learned this the hard way.
Steve chose the right character to haunt the characters. I felt their fear. I understood why Oliver pissed himself. And I grasped why the witch struck out against Ezkiel and the others.
Again, I say, never f**k around with a witch, living or dead!
Hooch and Honeyby Kevin J. Kennedy:Okay, aspects of this short story were creepy… like I would’ve gagged if I witnessed firsthand how the hooch was made. However, I think the story ended before it really began. Not bad though.
The Blood-Soaked Branches of the Bullingdon Family Tree by Lex H. Jones:Twisted, sick, disturbing… wow, Lex has quite the weird imagination. The plot and characters were 100% f’d the hell up!
Death, She Said by Edward Lee: As a person who’s contemplated suicide on several occasions, I didn’t particularly care for how this story began or ended. Everything in between was bizarre. Not my cup of tea. Sorry.
Forbidden Fruit by Calvin Demmer: This story wasn’t gory. It wasn’t your typical supernatural short story either. It was different, and that’s what I enjoyed about it. Man was really his own worst enemy in this story.
Heart Rating System: 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) Score:❤❤❤
Apples is a tale of a father and daughter finding themselves; Apples is a short dive into the horrors to be found in the English Countryside
In Snail Trails, Dave and the love of his life―Walter the dog―out on a walk one day discover all the snails, slugs and worms heading towards the hills. Dave and his faithful friend investigate. So begins the apocalypse…
The end of summer saw the beginning of the change. Fresh winds raced across the fields, scattering brown leaves as it went. Mike negotiated with Lucy’s school, allowing for a temporary home-schooling period. After a day of working outside, they would sit together to do school work, television chattering away in the background.
As autumn crept closer, the evenings began darkening quicker, bringing with it a damp chill. Mike would get a fire going as Lucy closed the old-fashioned shutters, shutting out the world. As the wind sighed its lullabies, they felt warm and cosy inside the house.
Autumn marched on and the weather continued to turn. The wind gathered momentum, roaring down the chimney as it whipped the trees into a frenzy. The rusted aerial on the roof creaked and groaned as tiles clung on for dear life, reducing TV reception to grey static. Switching it off, they could make out the distant clanging of a neighbour’s wind chime over the howling wind. They spent the night reading and listening to the wind moan.
The next day Mike got up with the dawn. The morning was fresh and crisp with a ground mist rising to meet the pale-yellow sun. The smell of damp leaves mingled with bonfire smoke. A pheasant crowed out unseen. He walked around, assessing the damage the wind had delivered. The strawberries had escaped the ravages. The same could not be said for the dead birds that lay around the base of the old apple tree. He frowned. Counting about six, the carcasses were all withered and dried out. He picked up the birds and tossed them into the garbage before Lucy awoke, not wanting his daughter to see the strange corpses.
Born from an egg on a mountain top, Russell has spent the past 40 something years doing stuff and things. After spending a decade travelling around the world he has now settled down in the North of England. He lives with his lovely family and a few errant cats, who know far more than they should. Luckily they’re not telling.
Other stories will take you to Mars. This one will take you inside the boardroom, the pub, and the bedroom with the people planning the mission.
Gurdeep is an engineer and a soldier. Georgie’s a food scientist. One is pragmatic with a tough outer shell; the other’s an optimist, a person of ideas and compassion. Together, they’re humanity’s last hope for survival.
In the span of a single afternoon, the couple find themselves in charge of planning and establishing a self-sustained colony on Mars. They have 160 slots to fill with experts from all over the world as they set about designing an all-new society with its own government, economy, and culture – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
With 1,114 days until the launch, excitement and tensions run high. Earth’s second chance hangs in the balance. Between strict genetic requirements and the dangers of the dystopian almost-present, will everyone make it to the final countdown?
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Devon’s Island is divided into three Acts; therefore, I will discuss each Act separately.
Act One:This section was mainly dedicated to the recruitment of individuals who’ll be beneficial to the starting process of colonizing Mars. It was more scientific-based. SI Clarke discussed how much air, food, and water humans consume. Clarke also pointed out scientists needed to combat the issue of bone loss in space. Spoiler’s alert! It all had to do with stopping the body’s production of TSG-6. Whether you’re a science geek or not, I think you’ll like Act One.
Act Two:This portion of the story dealt with how many people would be needed to populate Mars. It was suggested no men would go, but that idea was promptly shut done. Instead, everyone agreed 160 people would go. (144-150 women and 10-16 men)
They would also take 25,000 genetic material.
When you are starting a new civilization, life is essential. People die, so babies must be born to continue the preservation of the human race. How the people in charge went about ensuring it was a bit extreme.
*no one over 36
*sexual orientation meeting
*must sign over reproductive rights
Every step the powers that be took had a purpose. Earth was becoming less habitable, so we must adapt. Goodbye Earth…Hello Mars.
Act Three:And we have liftoff! It takes about a year to travel to Mars. As you would assume, space travel is no life on the beach. I’ve never been to space, but I suspect Chapter 27/Devon depicts life in a spacecraft quite accurately: overwhelming smells and lights, no privacy, always too hot or too cold.
This portion of Devon’s Island was my favorite. I was fascinated by how much the initial crew was able to accomplish. They had bees, apple trees, and daisies. Heck, they also had coffee plants. You wait, in a few years, I bet the first Starbucks will be opening its doors. 🙂
But in all seriousness, Act Three was the darkest section of the three. Human life on Earth was in chaos. As with Act One & Two, SI Clarke touched upon real-life happenings: mass shootings, hate crimes, terrorism. Clarke was correct, “The world was getting darker by the day.”
Currently, we are working on getting the human race to Mars. However, will we get there before the world implodes, before we turn on each other, kill each other off?
After reading Devon’s Island, I DID NOT wonder if technology would allow us to create a colony on Mars and thrive there. No, I wondered if the human race will survive long enough on Earth to make the trek. Times are becoming more combustible by the hour… how long do we actually have on this planet? Days? Weeks? Years? Or how about hours?
And on that note…
Good job, SI Clarke! Love the story and the section titled –> It’s Science, Bitches.
Passionate embryologist, Savarna, is in a complicated relationship, with two different women, when she is told that she Must have a baby. Her conservative East Indian American parents are desperate for her to conceive, in spite of her “not being married”. They insist that she is the last in line of a great spiritual lineage. In the process of choosing her lover and having doubts about her ability, or desire to conceive, Savarna begins to question the necessity of biology and lineage within her parents’ beliefs and becomes forever fascinated with the process of conception and the definition of family. Threads of Dan Brown (DaVinci Code), Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Sister of My Heart) and The L Word (Tv series) flavor this colorful tale of awakening, romance and mystery.
The Last Conception by Gabriel Constans was a delight to read. This novel covered the gamut of human emotion and interaction. Extremely well-written with brilliant character development, I had trouble stepping away from the story, flipping pages into the wee hours.
Savarna is an embryologist helping other women in their quest for pregnancy. She works with one of her best buds, Johnny, a friendly and disarming black man who is a pivotal character in the book. When Savarna’s conservative Asian parents, who are stereotypically meddling yet caring, insist that she continue the family’s lineage, the young Indian woman slowly warms up to the idea—at least in terms of conceiving a child, but to a lesser extent in regard to the somewhat bizarre notion her folks present to her.
“We often live out our dreams through our children.”
The fact that Savarna is a lesbian and has yet to tell her parents of her sexual orientation turns out to be the least of her problems. Despite all the tests she has done indicating she’s a healthy and fertile woman, she is unable to get pregnant. The journey Savarna takes along with Johnny, her donor, and Charley, her partner, draws the reader into an emotional saga of compassion, grief, love, and understanding.
A thought-provoking and entertaining read, The Last Conception is without a doubt a five-star read!
This was my introduction to the work of Gabriel Constans. He is a very talented writer with a gift for taking his readers to various locales, and into a myriad of situations, with ease.
This is a story about so many things. It’s about life; it’s about family; it’s about love. Savarna is a talented embryologist who – at first – lacks both a committed relationship and the desire to even have a child. Then, without telling her why, her family begins to pressure her to get pregnant.
The reader is in the dark for a short while about the reason for Savarna’s parents’ sudden obsession – but when the secret is revealed, whew, it’s a doozy!
Journey with Savarna as she travels the road to commitment with her long-time girlfriend, Charley; as she learns the deep mysteries of her family’s past; and as she explores the concept of motherhood for the very first time.
Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2018
The Last Conception is about unconditional love – between partners, family members and friends. It is as intriguing as it is unconventional, as one woman strives to find compromises between her alternative lifestyle and the expectations of her traditional conservative family. When Savarna questions her own desire to have a baby while being pressured to continue her Eastern Indian lineage, she discovers what the love of a child truly means. This book is well written and expertly researched. The compelling story invites readers to consider preconceived ideas of what “birth” truly means and to expand ones idea of the process of conception and the definition of family. A most enjoyable read!
Gabriel’s latest works of fiction are THE LAST CONCEPTION and ZEN MASTER TOVA TARANTINO TOSHIBA: THE ILLUSTRIOUS AND DELUSIONAL ABBESS OF SATIRE. Previous fiction includes BUDDHA’S WIFE, SAINT CATHERINE’S BABY, THE SKIN OF LIONS, and JUST A HEARTBEAT AWAY.
He has written for numerous magazines, newspapers and journals throughout North America, Europe, Africa and Asia; has 14 books published in the U.S. and continues to write fiction, non-fiction and screenplays. His latest work of non-fiction is A B.R.A.V.E. YEAR: 52 WEEKS BEING MINDFUL.
Dr. Constans has worked as a trauma counselor in a variety of situations and environments, most notably with local and international non-profit organizations such as hospice, the coroner’s office, hospitals, state prisons, the Center for Street Children and the Ihangane Project (both in Rwanda).
His classes on grief, loss, hope and transformation, can be found at The Figley Institute and Quantum Continuing Education Online.
As a free trapper, mountain man Kade McCauley is wary of the Hudson Bay Company. Their form of vengeance against those who are not part of the company can be deadly. When he and his partner are attacked, he fights back, only to discover one of his shots struck an innocent. A woman who touches his soul, and he will do anything to keep her safe.
While searching for her Native American tribe, Blind Deer crosses paths with Kade—with near fatal results. Once she is patched up, she decides it is safer to travel with him than alone Their uneasy alliance turns to genuine caring, but Blind Deer’s past gets in the way, and she must choose between love or old obligations.
But nothing in life is carved in stone except the mountains, and those formidable peaks have been known to change the course of a man’s life—or a woman’s.
Where was Blind Deer? The water bucket and rifle were missing. Probably gone down to the stream. She had been at his side since the accident. He remembered hearing her voice and the stories she had told. He remembered fighting to come back to her. She had been his warmth and light. Her spirit his only sanctuary in the fearful world he’d roamed alone.
Opening the cabin door, he stood in the sun, soaking up the healing rays as he awaited her return, a vision to fill his eyes and heart. Instead, an Indian brave materialized before him.
The solitary man stood several yards away, clothed only in leggings, a loin cloth, and moccasins. The man stared back, formidable and unafraid. The white talons of his bear claw necklace glinted in the sun, reminding Kade of another brave and the eagle claw that had ripped his leg open those many years ago. The man’s face was slashed with red and black paint, adding a terrifying bit of decoration to the already threatening spectacle.
Armed with a Missouri war axe, bow, and knife, the solitary figure stood stock still, a painted bag at his feet. The feeling he thought himself invincible radiated from his stance and demeanor, although he made no move to attack.
Holy mother of God, what a way to start his first day out of bed. Kade didn’t feel fit to take on a lame rabbit let alone an unexpected Indian. As nonchalantly as possible, he glanced around for Blind Deer. Had this man already found her? Did she lie injured or dead nearby? If she were unharmed, he hoped she had the sense to stay hidden.
“Easy, friend.” Kade straightened to his full height and tried not to weave about. “We weren’t expecting company.” He fought to keep the man in focus. “But you’re welcome. We’ve always lived in peace, wishing no harm to anyone, and expecting none to ourselves.”
The stranger’s reply came first in Indian, and then in French. Unfamiliar with either language, Kade didn’t understand the man’s intent. The silence hanging in the air became increasingly uncomfortable, and Kade’s strength began to dwindle.Just as passing out seemed a possibility, he sighted Blind Deer approaching from behind their uninvited guest.
Rifle at her shoulder, she moved silently through the grass. When she was a few paces behind the man, she cocked the gun, and call out. The intruder appeared to recognize the language she spoke. From his topknot to his beaded moccasins, the warrior tensed for action and slowly turned around.
Sweat broke out on Kade’s forehead. Blind Deer only had one shot, and he had none. If she missed, they would both be dead before either could make a second move.
Blind Deer was stripped from her tribe when she was young. Forced to be a servant to a harsh, cruel missionary couple, she plots her escape. When the moment arrives, she’s successful and escapes with a kind white man who treats her with respect. Now a woman, she’s on a mission to find her tribe. Reckless, she travels alone, only to find herself captured by a group of white men. Her rescue appears in the form of a rugged free trapper named Kade. He’s a kind man who makes her feel safe. She cares for him and him her but when her past collides with her present, she must choose between loyalty and love.
Trapper’s Moon is a riveting historical tale with danger, wilderness, turmoil, adventure, suspense and yes, romance. The historical time period may be familiar but I can guarantee you haven’t heard it told quite like this. Free trappers at war with the Hudson Bay Company, annihilation of Native American tribes, missionaries stripping Native American children of their heritage, this book has it all. The characters leap off the page and tell their story with no filter. It’s historical truth and not white-washed. I found it compelling and couldn’t put it down. This is my first Gini Rifkin book and it won’t be my last. She brings history to life while still bringing an emotional element to the plot. The romance between Blind Deer and Kade is slow burning yet honestly drawn. Highly recommend!
5 Stars. First, I want to say how beautiful this cover is. Blue is my favourite colour, so this book won me over right away. If I saw this book on a store shelf, I would pick it up to learn more about the story. And the story is truly an enjoyable read. Kade and Blind Deer are the perfect match. Their chemistry is sweet and emotional. Blind Deer’s background is filled with sadness that will pull at your heartstrings. You’ll want her to find her happy-ever-after and Kade fits the role as the endearing rugged hero. The secondary cast is outstanding with Tucket, Maggie, Nikota, and the mischievous Kinnapa and Kintama. Blind Deer’s bother, Nikota could definitely lead a story of his own. The historical aspect is very interesting. The added romance, bits of humour, drama, and tension makes this story a page-turning hit. Reviewed for Still Moments Magazine.
Gini Rifkin’s books follow characters who are courageous and passionate about life, and when they meet, sparks fly while danger often threatens. Her settings include the American West, Medieval and Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not writing, Gini has the privilege of caring for her rescue animals including ducks, geese, goats, rabbits, donkeys, and cats. Her writing keeps her hungry to learn new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts. So step back in time or into the future, where adventurous romance is waiting just for you.