A bagful of reviews: a selection from Grimbold Books

So, I’ve finally caught up on my reading list! This is a mixed bag of Grimbold reviews…Dollywagglers, Strange Creation, The Book of Orm and Felinity.

dollywagglersDollywagglers by Frances Kay

After the plague, most of us are dead, and some of the survivors aren’t behaving very well. But we can still have a laugh, can’t we? Letting go is for softies. I’m alone – delightfully and comfortably alone. I don’t do crying…

That’s the wonky philosophy of Billie, a dollywaggler on a far from sentimental journey. The Eppie – a worldwide flu pandemic – has left London with nothing but a few beastly survivors with appallingly unwholesome habits. Watch out for Rodney; he is particularly nasty. Oh, and don’t try to escape the madness by fleeing to the country – things may be even worse out there. Besides, a greater intelligence is planning to identify and control the living remnants nationwide, as order begins to be restored. It’s time to find out who the real dollywagglers are.

You know that uncomfortable feeling when you’re on a wobbly chair and you don’t know when it’s going to tip? The feeling when you step into a supermarket where your ex shops – hey, you’ll be cool, you’ll be fine, but…you still get the worrying feeling that you won’t? When your boss comes towards your desk with a thoughtful expression? That little trail of an uncomfortable thought down your spine?

Dollywagglers gives you that.

Put the book down, and odd bits will replay at odd times. It demands a re-read, but you’re not sure you want to. It’s unsettling, uncomfortable and a really good read.

The heroine, Billie, is on a journey – but you, and she, aren’t entirely sure where. It certainly isn’t to find her former show partner, or to meet any of the people she does. It certainly isn’t to gain a child or a friend. And she never intended to find herself or grant forgiveness.

The book has the feeling of an apocalyptic tragedy with a dose of dark humour, cynical character studies and unsettling realism. If you like dystopian tragedy, human suffering or well-crafted and thoughtful reads, you’ll love Dollywagglers.

strange_creation_coverStrange Creation by Frances Kay.

Dr Dorothy Broadhurst, a biologist living in 1950s Central Africa to study the local ape population. When civil war erupts and the rest of her team flees, she’s left alone in the jungle. Dorothy may think she understands the apes she has studied for so long, but she could never have predicted what they do next . . .[Violence and sexual themes]

Weird. Odd. And thoughtful. A short story that feels far too short and yet unsettlingly long. Very well-written and worth a read!

Book_of_OrmThe Book of Orm by A.J. Dalton.

This exciting new collection brings together the writing talents of international fantasy author A J Dalton, Nadine West (Bridport Anthology) and Matt White (prize-winning scriptwriter). Magic, myth and heroic mayhem combine in a world that is eerily familiar yet beautifully liberating.

I didn’t expect this to be an anthology (ok, I don’t read the blurbs very well, so bite me) and that took me a moment to register when I finished the first story. However, once I’d twigged that the stories weren’t connected, I enjoyed this. My personal favourite was the title story, The Book of Orm. The Nine Rules of the Nisse is uncomfortable, and the other stories in the book are interesting although no one particularly stood out to me. A good set, with powerful characters and interesting plots, and a good anthology if you like short fantasy stories or Dalton’s other work.

Felinity_imageFelinity, AFE Smith et al.

Felinity, noun, plural fel-in-ities. 1. The quality of being cat-like. 2. A divine being, a cat.

The stories showcased in this book are full of laughter, grit, odd contraptions and a lot of fur, with a loud purring nod to our beloved genres of science fiction and fantasy.

My favourite is Nein, a cat who has been as involved in science as the great humans! Stories include a spacefaring cat in Pest Control, clockwork (and troublesome) cats in The Clockwork Cat Escapes, ghost cats and rulers of the world, space-time jumpers and witches’ familiars…and each short story is accompanied by a charming illustration. A lovely anthology that’s a must for cat lovers and a good purchase for anyone wanting quick and entertaining reads.