Tag Archives: love

Boychik – a review

I’ve loved Laurie Boris’ work since I read her novel – Drawing Breath – back in Indies Unlimited days. That book has remained my favourite until now. Boychik has the same immediacy, the same heart as Drawing Breath, and I absolutely loved it. This is the review I just left on amazon.com:

It’s hard to define what makes Boychik so wonderful because the story has it all – great characters, a great narrative and a sense of time and place like no other. For a couple of delightful days, It transported me to Prohibition New York and beguiled me with the sights and sounds and /smells/ of that era.

I don’t actually know what ‘lox’ is, but I love pickles so I could almost taste the food being made, and eaten, in the Deli. Most of all though, I experienced all of these almost alien sensations through the eyes of two young people on the cusp of growing up. And falling in love.

Yes, there is a thread of romance running through the story, but mostly it’s about love and tradition and old expectations clashing with the culture of a new country. In a strange sort of way, Boychik made me nostalgic for a time and place I’ve never known. It made me /care/.

In my not so humble opinion, Boychik really does have it all, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Read it. You’re welcome. 🙂

The only thing that makes me sad is that the story is over. But it’s a good sad. 🙂


Keiree – a review

I have enjoyed a great many books in the last few years, but I have not reviewed all of them because…well because life gets in the way, doesn’t it? But sometimes a story grabs me enough for me to get off my butt and say why. This is the review I just left on Amazon for a scifi story called ‘Keiree’. I believe the book, and its author, deserve a great deal more attention from readers like us. So here it is:

Keiree, by C. Litka

I’ll start with Molly, a green silka cat whose breed has been genetically enhanced to understand human language, if not speak it.

That was enough for me to give ‘Keiree’ a go, but somewhere along the way the story snuck into my heart and took up residence there. I reached the end and kept swiping my Kindle, hoping for more. An epilogue, maybe. Or perhaps a link to a second book.

I found neither, and if the author reads this – please Sir, can I have more?

Not because the ending wasn’t right. It was perfect for /this/ story. But …I grew to love Gy and Molly. I’d really like to know what they did next. How they lived their lives /after/.

On a technical level, the definition of scifi is that the story could not have taken place without the technology, place or time of the world in which it’s set. Think Dune or The Left Hand of Darkness.

By that definition, Keiree is as scifi as you can get because it takes place on a terraformed Mars, many hundreds, or possibly even thousands, of years in our future. Cryosleep is commonplace, as is sophisticated genetic modification and all sorts of other, smaller, innovations that we would consider close to magic now. But while all these elements quietly define the place and time, it’s the people who truly shine.

People don’t change. Some are petty and avaricious. Some remain true, no matter the odds. Keiree is that kind of story. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

You can find ‘Keiree’ here. It’s at a ridiculously low price, so even if you don’t think you like scifi, please give it a go. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed. Hmm…unless you’re looking for space battles, lasguns and Terminator style robots. Wrong book, sorry. 😉


Review – The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

I gave Deborah Jay’s novel – The Prince’s Man –  5/5 stars and posted this review on both Goodreads and Amazon:

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading ‘The Prince’s Man’, but the reality blew me away. The story is a grown up fantasy reminiscent of Robin Hobb’s Farseer series [which I also happen to love]. You’ll find Machiavellian politics, intrigue, loyalty, a hint of love, and a cast of characters you can relate to. Yes, they have their flaws, but don’t we all?

To my mind, watching the characters change and grow is at least half the fun. The other half is getting to know the world in which those characters live. In all types of speculative fiction, the world is as much of a ‘character’ as the characters themselves. Think how important the planet Arrakis is to the story of Dune.

As readers we want to step out of our everyday lives and get lost in another world. And the author does not disappoint. The otherness of The Prince’s Man is evident right from the start, but there are no boring info. dumps. We learn about the world in the same way we learn about the human characters, by watching the story unfold, a bit at a time.

And finally, I’d like to say something about the plot. It. Is. Not. Predictable. To me, that’s one of the book’s greatest strengths. I like to be surprised, and nothing puts me off more than ‘the same old same old’. In The Prince’s Man, the author kept me guessing right to the end.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book of the series, and I highly recommend this one to anyone who likes a story with real meat on its bones.


I’ve been horribly slack about posting reviews the last year or so, and for that I apologise. Diana Peach’s review of Nabatea reminded me of the impact our reviews have on the authors who write the books we read. I have posted some reviews on Amazon, but not enough. From here on out, I intend to update my Goodreads account with reviews of the books I’ve enjoyed the most. I read an awful lot so I can’t review everything, but I will do better than I have been doing todate. 🙂




Anthropomorphising #robots…

GUEST: In recent years, we’ve seen a spate of movies and TV shows suggesting that robots will soon be so realistic and life-like that humans will form deep connections and yes, even fall in love. Movies like “Ex Machina” or the British TV show “Humans” both depict scenarios where robots or synths are so advanced…

via Why robots will never provide real intimacy — VentureBeat

No one truly knows where human ‘love’ comes from, but I’m astounded that anyone is still talking about whether robots/AI are capable of it.

Our capacity to love is, at its core, hormonal, i.e. chemical, i.e. biological. We are ‘wetware’ and until our technology gets to the point of being able to build robots out of flesh and blood, or some ‘substantially equivalent’ [rolls on floor laughing] material, we haven’t a hope in hell of reproducing the ability to love.

Some might even ask why we would bother building such a machine when a few minutes of sex at the right time of the month can produce a perfect specimen nine months later….

Laurie Boris – In the Name of Love

laurie boris in the name of loveLaurie Boris should need no introduction, not on this blog, but for those few who haven’t heard me rave about her writing, you can find my reviews here, here and here.

For everyone else, Laurie’s latest book is a collection of ‘short and shorter stories’ on the theme of love.

I’ve only just bought ‘In the Name of Love’ so this is not a review, but I know Laurie’s writing will be wonderful so I’ll recommend it anyway. Besides, at 99c, how on earth could you not enjoy it?

Go on, click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon. 🙂



Chris Medina – What are Words

You may say I’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, but I really had not heard of Chris Medina until today. Now I can’t seem to stop playing his song ‘What are words’. He has a glorious voice, but it’s the lyrics…

We all dream of that one person who will love us through thick and thin, sickness and health, till death do us part. That is why those words still form the core of every marriage vow. Because they mean something. They’re not just words. I guess that dream is also why the romance genre is so huge. We all want to be loved that much.

Cynical, divorced lady with pink eyes signing off.


Flash fiction by Joan Childs – a review

I’m no expert on flash fiction, and I certainly never thought I’d ‘review’ a story only 200 words long, but this story really got to me. Not only is it like a prose Haiku – perfect and complete in a tiny package – it also bears a message of love that transcends form. Decide for yourselves:

No Costume Needed
by Joan Childs

Like you, I was born of a dying star. Like you, I was once made of star stuff. Seven billion billion billion atoms of it.

Now I exist in the space between the stars. I see you without my eyes. I touch you without my hands. I love you without my heart.

Except for tonight. All Hallows’ Eve. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium, along with a smattering of other stuff: they all bind to my soul for one night and I walk with you once again. I am part of the cosmos, but just for tonight, I am part of the cosmopolitan.

I have forgotten the formula of how to be flesh, so please bear with me. I have forgotten how to layer skin over muscle. I may have gotten it inside out. I have forgotten the placement of organs and limbs, the texture of hair. I will do my best.

Do not be afraid.

You laugh with your friends.”Trick or Treat!” But I know you feel me near. You look around and beneath your laugh you long for affection, not confections.

You see me. My eyelids are missing, I think, but I can see you. My hand is a few fingers short, but I can touch you. My bloody heart is bulging through my chest, but I love you.

You hold out your hand. With a child’s innocence you see the soul through the stuff of stars.

“Hello Grandpa. I’ve missed you.”

* * *

No Costume Required takes the tired old themes of zombies and All Hallows, and turns them inside out. Or perhaps returns them to their original intent. But purpose is not the point; love and longing are. This story literally made me cry.

The author is Joan Childs and the venue is Indies Unlimited.



Euthanasia – killing? or the gift of love?

I’m sitting here with Golly in my lap. He is my brain damaged cat who made a miraculous recovery. Neither he nor I are in any danger of dying any time soon, but as I look at his trusting little face I know that someday I’m going to have to make a decision about the end of his life.

I have only found the courage to have one of my cats sent to sleep – in 30 years – and that was only about 6 years ago. It’s a decision that I find terribly hard to make, and so I procrastinate, hoping against hope for a miracle until it’s too late. Yet it’s not the process itself that sucks away at my courage, it’s the fear of the pain I know I will feel, when my furkid is gone.

Rosie was a gorgeous tortoiseshell cat with a personality to match. But she was already thirteen years old, and she was sick. I watched her, day by day, and I told myself that so long as she could find some pleasure in every day, she was not ready to go.

And then one day it was obvious, even to me, that the awful day had come. The vet had been warning me for a couple of weeks, but it was not until I saw Rosie staggering around in obvious distress that I found the courage to help her.

We are incredibly fortunate to have a gentle, caring travelling vet who will come to the house. I called the vet, and she came. I asked that Rosie be given something to ease the pain and make her drowsy. Then I asked that I be given the chance to hold her so she would feel no fear.

The vet inserted a thing into Rosie’s leg so when it was time the chemicals could be introduced to her body without any further trauma. And then the vet left, giving me half an hour with Rosie.

I’m crying now, remembering that moment, but at the time I locked my emotions away and just cuddled her in the big recliner. She was mostly asleep but I could feel how relaxed she was.

The daugher and I stroked her and talked about all the funny things she had done – like climbing up onto the roof – regularly – and then crying piteously for me to climb the ladder and get her down. Given that I’m scared of heights this was no small feat, and she made me do it at least six times before the then Husband put his foot down and said she was messing with my mind. She was. When she realised I wasn’t going to climb the ladder this time, she came down all by herself… and never did the roof thing again!

And so we reminisced, until the vet returned. She asked if we were ready. I think I nodded. I saw the needle go into the thingie in Rosie’s leg and then I saw the vet check her with the stethoscope.

“She’s gone.”

There was a note of surprise, and relief in the vet’s voice. And then my tears came.

I wasn’t crying for Rosie, I was crying for myself. For Rosie, the end was without struggle or pain or fear, just a gentle drifting away. She knew she was safe. She knew she was loved. And so she just… let go.

But this post is not about Rosie, it’s about how we define euthanasia, for humans.

In all the talk about euthanasia, the language seems to imply that there is a ‘victim’ who is ‘killed’. This language has the effect of making people feel guilty – as if the person could live a much longer, happier life but is having that time cut short.

That’s a load of bunkum. What people with terminal illnesses are asking for is to have that last struggle eased so that they can slip away as gently as Rosie.

Make no mistake, dying is a struggle.

I sat with my Father for two days, listening to him struggle for each breath. He had a morphine ‘driver’ that automatically sent a low does of the pain killer into his body every hour or so. I don’t think he was in pain, or even conscious in a real sense, but at some level his body was still fighting to pull air into his lungs.

Comparing those two deaths that I have witnessed, I know which I would prefer. Yet for humans, that last act of love and compassion is forbidden. People with terminal illnesses can’t ask their loved ones to help them in those last awful moments because any such help could see those loved ones prosecuted. Doctors can’t help either, for the same reason.

So those who are dying have to circumvent the law. Worse still, because they have to be strong enough to take their own lives, they are dying too soon. And they are dying alone.

I truly believe that when there is nothing more to try, when the last treatment has failed, when nothing remains but palliative care, we, as a society should have the courage to offer the gift of a gentle death.

When should this gentle death be offered? When the person, and his or her family have accepted that death is inevitable, and imminent.

I’m not talking about letting people die months before they might die naturally. I’m talking about the days or hours before natural death, when the person is ready to go, but their heart refuses to stop beating. They are facing the final struggle and there will be only one outcome. That is when the gift should be offered. Not to kill, but to ease.

For me the difference between ‘kill’ and ‘ease’ is so huge I cannot put it into words, yet if this debate is ever to help the dying, we all need to see that difference.

I still hate the thought of anyone or anything that I love dying. That will never change. But Dad, and a small tortoiseshell cat taught me that death is inevitable. How we deal with death, however, is not.

To me, euthanasia is the gift of love.


%d bloggers like this: