Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Book tour - The Missing Fairy Princess, by Walter Salvadore Pereira

Quite a cute cover! Here's some information on this book tour - my review down at the bottom.

About the Book:

“The Missing Fairy Princess” is the story of a 16-year-old fairy princess pitted against a powerful witch. The witch has stolen a potent new mantra developed by a colleague, ruthlessly snuffing out a brilliantly innovative mind.  She then hatches an elaborate plot to frame an adversary for her misdeed.  Her intention is to exact sweet revenge from her foe and at the same time, get away with the theft.  The victim, caught in her vicious web, is doomed to disgrace and a life sentence on a harsh penal colony. Meanwhile, the witch learns from her crystal ball, about an imminent threat from a fairy princess wearing a pink tiara.  To ward off that threat she kidnaps the fairy princess, wipes her memory clean and then turns her into a two-year-old girl. 

Unfortunately for the culprit, she has goofed up by kidnapping the wrong fairy princess, Merlyn, instead of Ashlyn, her twin.  The mistake turns out to be the undoing of the witch because Ashlyn proves to be her nemesis.  The brilliant fairy princess exposes the cobweb of misleading evidence fabricated by the witch, ultimately unmasking her.

If you love mystery, whodunit, with a dash of magical realism and sci-fi, this book is for you.

Buy Links:

About the Author:

After spending over 25 years in the Middle East, the author, aged 75, now leads a retired life.  He lives with his wife and son in Thane, near Mumbai. He has been passionate about writing from his early days.  His first book was a fast-paced sci-fi novel titled “This Nightmare is for Real”, was self-published. That was followed by a historical fiction titled “Bheem – The Sage of Madhavpur”, again a self-publication.  A third book, a fairy tale titled “The Missing Fairy Princess” which was published on Kindle Select during the first week of June 2019, while a fourth on the oft-discussed topic of cross-border terrorism titled “The Carnivore has a Heart” is slated for publication shortly thereafter again on Kindle Select.

Twitter:          www.twitter.com/author_walter
Website:         https://www.waltersalvadorepereira.com

My review: A fairy tale for the slightly older child (there is quite a nasty bit near the end). One fairy princess is kidnapped in mistake for her twin sister by an unpleasant witch intent on getting her revenge in first. The story is rather an odd mixture of settings, moods and themes – holy rosaries don’t often come into fairy tales, for example, the imagery moves between fairyland, science fiction, and the here-and-now, and a witch on a flying carpet seems to bring together the Brothers Grimm and the Arabian Nights. It’s certainly impossible to guess what might happen next! Time stretches and contracts, sometimes confusingly. There are a few typos, but not too many to spoil the flow: also, I wasn’t keen on the odd use of italics for some names, but then it’s definitely a quirky book!

Tuesday 6 August 2019

unimaginatively titled July's Reading

Late again - just trying to finish a couple of things off, and co-ordinate two elderly computers which like to specialise in different processes. It's hot, too, which doesn't help me, anyway. And I had a writing crisis (self doubt is my superpower, as someone reminded me last week), and a bit of a blip of things to do in a hurry, too.

So, there are my excuses all ready and laid out - now for the books!

This month's non-fiction is one that has been on my shelf for a while, since I read her charming Field Notes from a Hidden City and indeed had the pleasure of meeting the author. It's Corvus, by Esther Woolfson.

Corvus: A Life with Birds

Fieldnotes from a Hidden City, her later book, documents her encounters with wildlife around the west end of Aberdeen – there’s more than you might think, and she writes about it beautifully. I did rather rudely challenge her assertion that there were no foxes in Aberdeen and she admitted she had been wrong, though at the time they were mostly university based and perhaps still are. In a city with deer, dolphins and seals, on the borderline of the territories of red and grey squirrels, foxes are a small thing to squabble over. Anyway, this book documents her family’s birds, focussing chiefly on a rook called Chicken, and it is charming, intelligent, and in places very funny. There is a great deal about animal behaviour and their behaviour in relation to humans, and in comparison with humans, scholarly, thoughtful, sometimes contemplative, and all a joy to read.

Fallen Kingdom
Non-crime fiction next, and for this I chose Darren Hughes, FallenKingdom: Well, the U.K. in crisis, cutting itself off from the rest of the world – an all too likely scenario in current conditions. But there seems to be something more to this: how did the country become a police state so quickly? Who killed the policeman investigating the coach crash? Why does Benton so keenly want to go home, when home doesn’t seem to want him? And who are the mysterious hoods, who seem to control everything in England? There are hints of a modern-day John Wyndham here, and a great atmosphere of bewildered tension, with occasional flashbacks to the day the country changed which is a tale of suspense in itself. I have to admit there are some appealing things about the distorted future – bartering home-grown food, hand knitting, bicycle travel and home-brew, not to mention repair of electrical equipment rather than throwing it out. Dystopia isn’t all bad! And though the plot is nicely rounded, there is definitely scope for a follow-up, to which I would look forward.
Now home to crime, and a varied bunch this month.
Ed James, Liars and Thieves: Don’t know why these have all been renamed, but this used to be Windchill, apparently, which to my mind is a much more distinctive title. Heigh ho. Scott Cullen being his own worst enemy as usual – I think the appeal of these books is that Cullen says what we’d like to say, even though we know that it’s completely the wrong thing to say and that it won’t help him at all. That and the fact that we hope he’ll learn how not to harm his own career and happiness so completely effectively!

St. Benet's (DI Tanner #2)
David Blake, St.Benet’s: As with the first book in this series, I found some of the investigation a bit disjointed and unlikely, and I’m not quite sure I actually like the main character. Nevertheless it’s an entertaining read in an interesting setting, and I’ll probably carry on with the series.

The Venice Atonement
Merryn Allingham, The VeniceAtonement:  A historical set in 1950s Venice, this is skilfully prickly from the start. Why is the narrator so grateful to, but so uneasy with, her new husband? Why did her new acquaintance, so respectful of the heroine’s husband but so easily dismissed by him, fall to her death at La Fenice? What happened with the mysterious Philip? A little reminiscent of Mary Stewart’s novels (and that’s a compliment), though darker, this was a lovely book with a promise of more to come.

The Way of All Flesh
Ambrose Parry, The Wayof All Flesh: While it’s mildly annoying that the mainstream crime writing community stands back in awe at one of their number writing a historical crime novel, this is of course an excellent one (perhaps not ‘astonishing’, as Mark Billingham apparently said), weaving real people in amongst fictional characters while never losing the impetus of a well paced plot or a sense of place and time. I look forward to the next one. 

Veneer of Manners
Francis J. Glynn, Veneerof Manners: Good and bad, the bad mostly in the confused formatting of paragraphs. It could have done with a very thorough edit: there were sections which were quite amusing if they had not gone on for so long, and other themes which would have been more effective condensed. Show, don’t tell, as they say. I’m not clear why the Dundee staff, unable to fly because of the volcanic dust (it’s set in 2010), nevertheless set out to drive all the way to Scrabster for a ferry known to be in Norway when there was a perfectly good one in Aberdeen that would go to Kirkwall, never mind the Pentalina from Gill’s Bay that’s actually mentioned in the book, but perhaps there were good reasons for this strange behaviour. I was also a bit baffled by other strange police procedure, and I didn’t find the reaction of the dig team to the police very convincing – all right, maybe the leader of the dig would have played the prima donna but I’m sure some of the students would have been fans of crime fiction and known what to do. Likewise some other characters act very oddly – several police officers are completely pigheaded - and I didn’t feel that a crime godfather would be obvious to the main character and not to everyone else on Orkney where almost everyone knows almost everyone else. Some of the description is very good, and some of the conversations are painfully pedestrian. The characters all seem to exist independently and don't really react with each other. I liked the scholarly Georgian Orcadian farmer whose letters the main character is transcribing, but I’m not sure his defence of the North was really carried through in the main plot and again the contents could have been wound up a bit for a sharper read.

Still Dark (Lorimer #14)
Alex Gray Still Dark: I’m a bit ambivalent about this. The plot is gripping, and the pacing is excellent, yet somehow the actual writing is pedestrian and often repetitious – a character will appear and be described, and fit in nicely with what’s going on, then about a page later they are introduced as though they are a new person and described again in a different way (not impossibly different, just that it’s not simply a cut and paste that’s been accidentally left in). There were quite a few typos, too. I quite liked the characters though they pushed being a bit too perfect sometimes. I wouldn't mind reading more.

Only the Dead (The Harrogate Crime Series Book 1)
Malcolm Hollingdrake, Only the Dead: This started with a great deal of detail and some wandering commas, but it didn’t take long to catch my attention. Still, it was quite hard to read – some timelines seemed confused and hard to follow. It could do with a bit of editing – there’s repetition and ‘internment’ does not mean the same thing as ‘interment’, and one doesn’t ‘reign in’ things, one ‘reins’ them in (horses, yes?).  Nor, despite the efforts of Olympics commentators, does one ‘medal’, particularly when one means ‘interfere’. I liked the main character, the policeman, who was a bit different and it was interesting to see inside his head, having known a friend with the same condition. In the end quite an interesting plot, or two plots.

Unrelated Incidents (Pitkirtly Mysteries Book 18)
Cecilia Peartree, Unrelated Incidents: Thank heavens for my sanity, another Pitkirtly mystery. Whimsical humour from a town full of perfectly reasonable eccentrics. I love this series, which takes me to a harmless murder zone where I can laugh out loud and still, often, feel a keen sense of suspense.

Right, and what am I doing? Faffing, principally: allotment-tending, looking forward to a few days in Orkney thinking about Vikings, working for actual money, bracing myself for the new university term at the university bookshop, trying to tidy up for some visitors coming. Knitting, making felt. Do you see writing on that list? You do not.  I think it might be imminent, though,  if I can fit it round everything else!