#Review of The Minotaur’s Son & Other Wild Tales – A moving book with lots of humour, covering all the genres in short stories @kevinansbro #TheMinotaursSon #NewRelease #ShortStories #FlashFiction #Fables #HistoricalFiction #Fiction #Fantasy @BookTasters

The Minotaur’s Son
& Other Wild Tales
By Kevin Ansbro
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

About the Author

Kevin Ansbro was born of Irish parents and has lived in Malaysia and Germany.

He was educated at Hamond’s Grammar School in Swaffham, and at the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology in King’s Lynn.

Kevin also has a background in karate and kickboxing and has travelled extensively – particularly in the Far East.

He is married to Julie, and currently lives in Norwich, England.

Click below for Kevin Ansbro’s website and social media.

Website
Twitter
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Blurb

“Once the evening’s entertainment was over the Minotaur, as naked as Nature intended, clumped into Pablo Zapata’s bar…”

A baby with a passion for theoretical physics…

A winged nymph who exacts terrible revenge…

A stolen coin that releases a wish-granting genie…

And where else would you see Ginger Rogers learning the Ali shuffle, or a humble fisherman making friends with Poseidon?

Charlatans and shapeshifters, lovers and leprechauns, ghosts and office creeps are just some of the characters that Kevin Ansbro brings to life in this volume of short stories. His tales span the globe and range from the wickedly funny to the sad and deeply unnerving. With his perceptive take on human failings, his vivid imagination and his glorious grasp of language, Ansbro’s thought-provoking stories will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

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Review

This is an excellent book to read all the way through and then later to dip in and out of. Kevin Ansbro takes readers on a journey through these “Wild Tales” from space to many countries on earth again. You will enter different ages from as far back as the Ancient Greeks to the days of the Raj, to war times to the present day. You will meet mermaids, Greek Gods, a talking cat and many other creatures and of course humans too, including the intrepid author of this book – Kevin Ansbro. You are in for a real treat. These are tales of humour, trepidation, emotion and have great twists. To write short stories is as skillful as writing a novel and Kevin does them well. There is something in there for all sorts of people. The construction of these short stories are very good, including the endings, which was very pleasing.
I recommend people give them a try. I certainly very much enjoyed the majority of them. There are stories that I am sure will suit most tastes as Kevin Ansbro has skillfully covered all  genres.

Below I have written a little bit about most of the short stories, leaving some for readers to also discover too.

First you’ll meet a mermaid, a talking cat and its owner – Jacob in Sirens. Then it is off to space to meet Captain Chuck Montana of the Galaxy Ship Orion in Chuck Montana and the 22 Century to learn what the Lurgians are. Back on earth there is a 60th birthday celebration, but things don’t exactly go as planned in Doth Thou Thinkest Me a Fool. There is also a story later on that returns to the space theme. It’s a thought-provoking story called Extinction. They are well-written and Sirens is a great way to start this book as it pulls and tugs the intrigue of this book a bit further.

You’ve got to Be Careful What You Wish For in Brighton when it comes to octogenarians – Horace and Ethel and a promise of 3 wishes that will be granted. All is mysterious and just might give them exactly what they want, but there’s a twist in this cautionary tale.

Cache en Pleine Vue or in English – Hiding in Plain Sight in the little French hamlet of Culbiso holds gossip and secrets. Madam Pettier harbours the greatest secret of all as she isn’t exactly what you would expect.

Well, what can I say, except, it’s a Fait Accompli when readers meet Charles Remington and Veronica Meyer. Everything seems like it could be too good to be true.

In The Minotaur’s Son, you meet the mythical creatures and it comes with a warning, not to take things for granted. You certainly wouldn’t want to mess with strong female, Isadora.

The Show Off really made me smile. It features Kevin Ansbro, the author of this book. Quite unusually so, for a book of this type. It has you willing him on to do well at the book talk and it has the happiest, most amazing of endings.

A Matter of Honour is set during the Crimean War and the aftermath is realised of how PTSD can really affect someone and a family. It is written sensitively, with a rawness but also, I felt with care and with such emotion that comes from a certain truth.

Meet Yara – a Maharaja’s Concubine in 1932 – the days of the Raj in The Concubine and the Postman She is nothing ordinary. There are lessons those men who are greedy could learn and beware of a curse. Read to find out about how a postman comes into this story and what happens. It may surprise you.

The Fable of the Fisherman’s Hat brings back Isadora with her husband Demetrius and also mermaids in the sea. It has adventure and trepidation and nothing will seem as it once did.

The Leech takes readers to Japan and the people creating prosperity for their economy. It isn’t just a story for Japan though, some of the themes of recognition for those who make a difference are world-wide and as a result, has thought-provoking qualities.

Dorothy in Oz is a different perspective on her re-telling her story. I enjoyed this because, of course, who would believe you when you tell people a scarecrow etc talked to you and you had to click your red heels 3 times to get home.

Meet a Leprechaun in Ireland (of course) in Pot of Gold. This has a human and ecological tale within it, which is incredibly relevant for today and especially in farming.

Waiting for Ryan is a bit of a love story between two different cultures – Ryan from England and Mishti originally from India. Set in present times, they meet in Thailand, just before the well-reported tsunami that occurred there. There’s enough of a hook to keep wanting to read to see if the couple will ever see each other again, especially since time moves on and Ryan also returns to England.

Pantheon is just incredibly funny. Who can this mysterious man be at Christmas time? Well, it is up to authors, a pop star, a soul singer, a dancer and a boxer to ponder.
Meet Dickens and Hemingway, Shakespeare, oh and Oscar Wilde gate crashing a conversation and then add David Bowie into the mix and Ginger Rodgers and Muhammad Ali, it makes for a surreal but hilarious tale.

With thanks to Kevin Ansbro for supplying me with an e-book copy of his book and for agreeing to me reviewing.

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Review of A Degree of Uncertainty by Nicola K. Smith @NicolaKSmith @rararesources #ADegreeofUncertainty #Review #Debut #fiction #BlogTour

A Degree of Uncertainty
By Nicola K. Smith
Rated: 5 stars *****

I am so pleased to present my review of this excellently conceived, brand new contemporary book called A Degree of Uncertainty by Nicola K. Smith on the blog tour. I thank the tour organiser and Nicola for the opportunity and for the paperback copy.

 

About the Author

A Degree on Uncertainty Author pic Nicola K SmithNicola K Smith is a freelance journalist contributing to a number of titles including the The Times, Guardian.co.uk, BBC.co.uk, BBC Countryfile and Sainsbury’s Magazine. She lives in Falmouth, Cornwall, a town which inspired A Degree of Uncertainty, although it is set in the fictional Cornish town of Poltowan.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @NicolaKSmith

Instagram: Nicolaksmith740

Facbook: @NicolaKSmith74

 

Blurb

A Cornish town is slowly fracturing under the weight of its growing university…

Prominent businessman, Harry Manchester will not stand by and see his beloved hometown turned into a student ghetto – and many residents and sturents are relying on him.

But Harry’s stance sets him on a collision course with Dawn Goldberg, formidable Vice Chancellor of Poltowen University, who is set on doubling its size and cementing her career legacy.

As Harry’s marriage falls apart, his business comes under threat, and fellow traders accuse him of halting progress, Dawn is battling her own demons, not least to live up to her late father’s expectations and erase the memory of his tragic death.

There can only be one victor in this battle for the soul of a close-knit community…

A Degree of Uncertainty front cover

 

Review

I loved reading this book. It’s a contemporary book that is original, is wonderfully written, perceptive and got characters to cheer on and some who you may not wish to, but who are well written all the same in this well constructed book. This is a book reflecting a lot of what happens (not just with the fight for creating legacies and student accommodation) up and down the UK as a whole. This is a book that is for the 21st reader to ponder over and to enjoy as they not only discover issues facing the fictional town of Poltowan, but also the characters that inhabit it, their personalities, their lives in both the public-eye and private lives.
I will also mention, I reckon the artwork on the cover is excellently conceived and illustrates the book so well.

Instantly on the first page I’ve met Harry Manchester and Jenny Trundle talking about houses in Poltowan, Cornwall being planned to be built for students and a debate between the transient nature of students and those that are permanent residents. Familiar territory wherever you stay within the UK.  The issues seem pretty accurate that are covered within this book. Ultimately the future lies in a vote and the council.
It is pretty much character driven. Readers will find out about the love, the betrayal and the ambition of characters that inhabit this fictional Cornish town. 

I like Harry Manchester, he’s an interesting character and one that I find I am quickly willing him on to win the cause of protecting a community from becoming mainly just a transient place where only students reside and from the greedy landlords. Life however isn’t easy either, he has a personal life to deal with. He seems an incredibly well-written character. He could easily sit back and listen to his beloved Queen music, but instead, even though he is an estate agent who has obvious business interests, he makes a stand to protect Poltowan. This anti-hero has a tough fight on his hands. There is Dawn Goldberg – Vice Chancellor to contend with. She  ambitious and wants to make her mark in a big way. This is the woman Harry Manchester has to face during these challenging times that present a  degree of uncertainty. Dawn Goldberg also has her own wranglings to deal with too, even though she seem pretty formidable.

There is Ludo and Rockstr to follow too with their stories and emotions and views. There’s young talent within them and the story demonstrates what students think they need and their requirements in their accommodation challenges. This isn’t a one-sided story, it isn’t biased towards either side.

I really like the way this contemporary book reads so well. I feel that we get to know the characters and the issues facing Poltowan. It brings great sympathy. This is a book that is incredibly relevant and shows issues that rumble on for some time. Intertwined with this, is a well-crafted tale of the characters personal lives too, which show the complexities of life and are dealt with sensitively. In saying that, there are also light-hearted moments and a few twists and turns along the way. It is a book that is absorbing and provokes many emotions.
It is a pretty well paced, original book that will take readers into a community of conflicted interests and into the issues over-expansion can pose and the issues faced by small businesses. A town may seem small, but a lot can end up going on in it to survive and Harry Manchester is certainly trying to uphold a morality, which is impressive for someone in his business, but is still plausible. 

A Degree of Uncertainty is a debut novel I highly recommend reading. Nicola K. Smith is an author worth trying out. I was excited when it came through my letterbox and this well-constructed story did not disappoint. Although fictional, it feels quite an important book and one that will resonate with many.

*Many thanks for providing a paperback copy of the book.

 

A Degree of Uncertainty Full Tour Banner

*A review by Bookmarks and Stages