Happy (belated) New Year, everyone! I hope your 2014 is full of good health, wondrous adventures, breath taking moments and as many books as you can handle. :)
The Western New Year brings with it new traditions, affirmations and of course, those dreaded resolutions. They mean well. They encourage us to be our best, lure us into realising our potential. They let us aim high and then drown in their laughter when the majority of us fail to keep them. I can’t remember the last time I made one, mostly because I’ve heard that maniacal giggle signally my failure one too many times. So this year I’ve made plans. I don’t resolve to diet. I plan to make healthier eating choices. I don’t resolve to get my housework done. I plan to keep it neat and only evoke the panicked whirlwind of domesticity in times of great importance – like when the in-laws visit. (You got me – I do this every year) I also plan on querying those editors, entering more competitions and pushing myself out of my rather excessive comfort zone and networking a little more.
It’s summer time Down Under, so when not keeping the kids amused (a.k.a. offering alternatives to annoying each other, which apparently are much more fun) I’ve managed to squeeze in a few books. I wish that meant my ‘to be read’ pile was shrinking, but that’s just not the case. I have managed to make a tiny dent in it though.
VALENTINE’S MASQUERADE by Margaret Sutherland
This is a romance between a young New Zealand nurse suffering from a broken heart and an Australian man recovering from a broken marriage. Caitlin is learning to adjust to a land and customs foreign to her. Visiting her family in Australia leads to a party in the style of a medieval banquet where Caitlin meets Will. They have an instant attraction each other but there’s much emotional baggage to overcome before they find their happy ending.
What struck me most about this story was Ms Sutherland’s ability to show me life through her character’s eyes. It was easy to picture what it must be like for someone to see my country for the first time. Things I take for granted like kookaburras chortling, magpies singing and the at times wonderful yet oppressing heat of our climate were so magical when seen through the eyes of a woman who’d experienced none of these things. Caitlin and Will were such flawed characters that I despaired at times that they’d work through their differences, but of course, they managed it. The support characters did exactly that, and I could resonate with what it was like to be a young mum struggling with the demands of parenthood as Caitlin’s sister did.
KISS AND SPELL by Kris Eton
This is about a witch with the power to make men fall in love with her with just one kiss, have one crazed night of passion and then forget they ever met her. But Marissa wants love and a man to call her own. Her love interest, Justin, a mortal nursing a broken heart desires her but wants nothing to do with her. In a bet with another witch, Marissa agrees to make Justin fall in love with her without using magic and in return, the other witch will take Marissa’s ‘Kiss’ away. Little does Marissa know, but the other witch plans to trick Marissa into losing both Justin and her power.
I loved the idea of using a ‘kiss’ as a power. The characters themselves were believable and I could understand Marissa’s pain at having what she viewed as a curse and not a gift. However, there was no definition of lust evolving into love between the characters. I also feel the antagonist was underutilised. Having said that, I would read other books by this author because, apart from the above, the story flowed well and I’m interested to see what else she’s written.
I don’t have an address for Ms Eton. I would suggest finding her books on Amazon.com.
BELIEVE by Mel Teshco and Kylie Sheaffe
I’m going to say it straight out – get tissues. This book will tug at your heartstrings and then some. BELIEVE centres on James and Josie, who grew up in a repressed household with an alcoholic father and an emotionless mother. The siblings possess psychic abilities, though James denies his. Josie, on the other hand, is more intuitive and as a result, spends her life in and out of institutions because she is unable to cope with the things she sees and hears. This is exacerbated by the fact that her parents think she’s mad and offer no support. Only James is sympathetic. James spends his life thinking he’s nothing like his father only to discover his drug addiction more than makes up for his father’s chosen poison. His career as a doctor in training takes on a twist as he finds himself listening to unknown instincts that make huge differences in the lives of the people around him. He thinks the drugs are the reason he’s beginning to see and hear things, but by the end of the story, even he ‘believes’ about himself what Josie has known all along. Together they repair themselves and learn to overcome their miserable childhood and that’s when the reader ‘believes’ in the power of love and faith.
The story is punctuated with the most beautiful poetry, which leads the reader further into the characters’ psyches and leaves hints of the tale to come. The way you feel about particular characters at the beginning of the story will be altered by the time you reach the end. The authors’ abilities to change your perceptions will amaze you. This story will horrify you, make you look over your shoulder to see if anyone really is there and take you on an emotional journey. I found this book fascinating. I hope you do as well.
Until next time, if I haven’t melted into the computer chair by then. :/