Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: November 2013

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Hearts to Heaven and Tempers Raise by Reginald Frary (A Review)

Goodreads Summary:

Like a favourite TV comedy series, Reg Frary returns with another collection of all-too believable stories about anarchy and revolt waiting to break out in the choirstalls. They may look angelic in their robes, and may (on rare occasions) even sound like angels, but it's a dirty game keeping one step ahead of the vicar's trendy ideas and the choir director's aspirations to dictatorship. It all necessitates frequent councils of war down at the Dog and Duck after practice.REG FRARY has sung in his local church choir in Richmond for over sixty years and has been writing comic stories based on his experiences for almost as long. Neither the choir nor his employer will allow him to retire and he works as a proof reader for a major law firm in the City of London.

Funny and full of humorous situations, this is a light read. Good for Christmas, or reading on the bus.

Action Reader's Action: Note a funny thing that has happened to you at the end of each week.

What humorous things have happened to you in the past?


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Bones of My Brother by J. Frank Dunkin (A Review)

Expected release date: November 5th 2013

Information about the novel:
A new literary novel highlights father and son stories that run as parallel as rails on a track. Discovering that his deceased father’s dream had derailed years earlier, the son researches his father’s past, determined to bring that dream to belated fruition.  The effort triggers deadly consequences, initiating a journey along a more imperative path.
In Bones of My Brother, author J. Frank Dunkin draws from childhood memories in small-town Alabama plus his twenty-five years of high level negotiations and travels within the world of corporate real estate development.
A brooding shroud of guilt was the characteristic that most marked the Hobson men.  There was Price, the small town boy, who later stamped his mark upon the backstabbing world of high finance and property development, a world that would ultimately crumble about him.  Depressed by the loss of his parents, he ignores personal and family responsibilities while searching for the truth about his father, the man without a smile.  Had it been the gore of Normandy or had there been a more defining, perhaps defiling, chapter in John Hobson's life? He was gone now, interred “…in nested containers of earth, box and body.” But the secret of John Hobson's lifelong angst lay not beneath the hot soil of Gethsemane's cemetery, but beneath God's tree in a tiny glade one county over.  For one man, there'd been the lure of “Music City” versus the love of his treasured Evie.  For the other, there'd been the heady rush of success, followed by a precipitous fall from grace.
This novel weaves the stories of three loves.  From rural Alabama at mid-century, there was John Hobson and his Evie.  From Minnesota at century's end, there was Price and his Joy. And there was always the abiding love of a son for his father. Bones of My Brother explores the conflict of dreams and reality—the searching for what is right and true in life and the sacrifices we make along the way.
Dunkin says, “Musing about my parents, I wrote the first lines of this novel on the back of a paper placemat in a Mobile, Alabama restaurant in 1988. Years later, I dusted off the ancient mat and developed the personalities of those I loved into a fictional tale that offers lessons of life, love and redemption. Bones of My Brother will invite reader introspection and offer insight for those searching for a higher meaning in life than the achievement of personal aspirations or the appeasement of ego.”
Though this is a compelling work of literary fiction, the author has clearly drawn from his own personality and experiences.  He grew up in a small Alabama town in the fifties and sixties, graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Auburn University, and for a quarter century traveled the continent, selecting locations for retail outlets and negotiating multi-million dollar leases.

My review:
A compelling and evocative novel, dealing with what it means to love family and God within our earthly world. 
It took me a little while to get the characters sorted in my mind but, once I had done this, I grew to love them. All of them were real and well-defined, but it was Price who particularly stood out for me. 
What I like most about this book though is how down-to-earth it all seemed. There is a clear message, but that is secondary to both the pure storytelling and the context in which it is set. There was not one moment when I didn't feel connected to the tale being told, not one moment where I felt I was being preached at.
This is a story full of personal journeys, transformations and sadness. It speaks from the heart.

Sadly, since I accepted this review request the author has passed away. 
My thoughts go out to his family and friends. 

Book extract starts at 2.50
Song starts at 5.15 


Friday, 1 November 2013

Review Policy Updated

This is a message for authors looking for reviews!

I have just updated by review policy. 
Please use the tabs at the top of the screen to take a look if you're interested.

You will notice that whilst I am now taking reviews again, I have limited the number that I am doing each year. This has been necessitated by an increasingly busy life and a reduction in the amount of reading I can commit to. 

Thank you in advance for checking out my review policy, and I look forward to hearing from you.
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