Colin Kaepernick to release ‘deeply personal’ children’s book inspired by his own childhood

I Color Myself Different will be released on 5th April 2022

I color myself different cover

Colin Kaepernick has just announced he will be releasing a children’s book in 2022 that will be inspired by his own life.

The book, entitled I Color Myself Different, will be published on the 5th of April next year though his own publishing company and Scholastic. According to a statement from the athletes media company this is the first in a multi-book deal. The book’s illustrations will be handled by Eric Wilkerson.

“This story is deeply personal to me, and inspired by real events in my life. I hope that it honors the courage and bravery of young people everywhere by encouraging them to live with authenticity and purpose,” Kaepernick announced in a press release. “I’m excited for Kaepernick Publishing to be collaborating with Scholastic on books with Black and brown voices at the forefront. I hope that our books will inspire readers to walk through the world with confidence, strength and truth in all they do.”

Kaepernick’s work is a picture book “inspired by a significant childhood memory of when Kaepernick first documented that he was different from his adopted white family”, Scholastic has said in a press release. “During a kindergarten exercise on drawing families, Kaepernick remembers putting down the yellow crayon he had been using to draw his family and picking up the brown crayon for himself.

This moment crystallized for him the differences marked by his adoption, and how acknowledging those distinctions could encourage us all to be more accepting of ourselves and each other.”

Colin Kaepernick became a national symbol in the US for racial justice when he first decided to take a knee during the US national anthem before a San Francisco 49ers preseason match back in 2016.

He did so to draw attention to police brutality and systemic racism in the US. Since the end of that season Kapernick has not found a team. NFL teams stand accused of blackballing him simply because of his political stance.

Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic said: “Colin Kaepernick’s inspiring story, with themes of identity, race and self-esteem, will resonate deeply with all kids.”

Yellow Tape and Coffee by Pat Luther Review

A superb debut novel

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Let’s kick off with a warning before I start this review. Pat Luther’s Yellow Tape and Coffee is a big book, and I mean a really big book. The print version is 706 pages long, that’s not an easy undertaking for anybody, let alone the casual reader. I think that might put some people off and that’s a huge shame because this is a very good book.

Yellow Tape and Coffee follows a number of different but interwined stories, stories that bring to life four different people from various backgrounds all with their own agendas and ideals.

For four hundred years a secret society of werewolves has remained hidden in Portland, Oregon. Some people want nothing more than to reveal this society, while others will do anything to maintain the status quo. Intriguing right?

For the most part the book is chocked full of action and great character development. There are moments of dullness I have to say but that has to be expected in a book of such epic scale and vision.

The biggest difficulty for me in reading Yellow Tape and Coffee was getting over my initial prejudice about one of its main selling points, werewolves are just not my thing. I think they’re boring, tedious and over done.

I’m thankful to say though that I was wrong. Pat Luther has managed to breathe new life into this over-milked cow.

I have to give special mention to Luther’s writing talents. His work is filled to the brim with wonderful imagery and description while managing to remain concise and flowing. The novel is also well edited, for being 706 pages long there’s little to nothing I would be happy putting in the bin. Some of the dialogue felt a little over bloated sure but for the most I’d personally want nothing to change.

As for the multiple view points this is not really my cup of tea, I like a concise story where I can really get to know one character really well. At points I did dislike the jumping from one person to another but once I’d gotten used to it it was no problem at all. In fact I learnt to findthe mix of characters enthralling, each one was as vivid and intriguing as the last.

The female lead Veer needs special mention however, she is sharp, intelligent and a fierce investing reporter who is uniquely well written. A true example of female protagonist writing done well.

Overall Yellow Tape and Coffee is more than a solid debut, it’s a magnificent one and Pat Luther is certainly one to check out and keep an eye on. He has managed to balance suspense, humour, a little bit of terror and drama in a delightfully composed cocktail of literature.

I would love a sequel to this novel but whatever he writes next will certainly be on my list.

Highly recommended.

Rating…

Rating: 9 out of 10.

You can get a copy for yourself from Amazon.

We need more books to review

We want to read your book

We here at booklytical.com are passionate about the written word and we love nothing more than devouring and review books from across the genre spectrum.

We are looking for more great books to review, specifically those published and promoted by the author themselves, we really love delving into the indie literary crowd.

If you have a book you’d like us to review, or know of someone who does, then please get in touch with us at submitbooklytical@gmail.com.

Or if you have any suggestions on what we should read then let us know in the comments.

Indie bookshop numbers rose again in 2020

Despite a challenging year the number of independent bookshops increases.

The Booksellers Association

According to the Booksellers Association for the fourth consecutive year the number of independent bookstores in the UK and Ireland has grown.

The number of independent bookstores with membership to the BA has increased from 890 shops in 2019 to 967 by the end of 2020. There have of course been some independent bookstores that have had to sadly close over the previous year thanks to hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, but overall it appears to have been a good year for indie stores.

Meryl Halls from the BA, said; “It has been an incredibly difficult year for booksellers, and the high street as a whole, so it is fantastic to see the number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland increase for a fourth consecutive year.

“Covid-19, national lockdowns and shifting tier systems have had a huge impact on bookshops across the country, with footfall significantly reduced, the supply chain affected, and competition from tech giants more unfair than ever. Thankfully, booksellers were able to adapt quickly to the new realities of 2020, pivoting their services online and finding new ways to reach their customers and continue operating.”

Yet despite the overall good number Halls did warn about future hardships that many stores will have to face, adding; “2021 is likely to be another challenging year for booksellers, as the full impact of the pandemic on the high street becomes apparent. However, this year has proven the resilience, resourcefulness and dedication of booksellers, and we will do everything we can to support them as they look ahead and plan for a post-pandemic future.”

Harry Potter helps fuel UK online reselling boom

Harry Potter is one of the major contributing factors that has helped fuel a boom in online sales of second-hand books.

Sales at online “resellers” like MusicMagpie have jumped more than 22% in the UK last year, taking their earnings to over £120min. The sale of second-hand books alone has increased by 75% over the last year.

In the run up to Christmas, and with the UK subjected to its second lockdown of the year, second-hand book sales were booming and they were dominated by one series, Harry Potter.

MusicMagpie and other such companies have benefited massively from the closure of charity shops across the country. Combine that with more people needing money thanks to the nationwide lockdown and you have the perfect environment for second-hand resellers.

“Consumer attitudes towards buying refurbished products are changing, and there’s also an ongoing move towards ethical spending and tackling the growing problem of e-waste,” said Steve Oliver, the chief executive of MusicMagpie.

With the sale of second-hand books rising exponentially it also shows a clear trend back towards reading for so many people over this uncertain time.

Top-selling books in Nov-Dec 2020

  • This is Going to Hurt – by Adam Kay
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – by JK Rowling

Eric Jerome Dickey: The best-selling author dies at 59

Jerome Dickey

The author Jerome Dickey, who was a common feature on the best-sellers list for more than 20 years, has sadly passed away at the age of 59.

The US writer created 30 novels about thrilling daring adventures and heart pounding romances that revolved around young African American characters.

He also wrote a series of Marvel comics about a love story between X-Men’s Storm and the Black Panther.

“His work has become a cultural touchstone over the course of his multi-decade writing career, earning him millions of dedicated readers around the world,” his publicist Becky Odell told USA Today.

Dickey was born in Memphis, Tennessee and began his working life as a software developer for an aerospace industry. When he was laid off from that job though Dickey found his true calling and took him writing.

He first gained prominence in the 1990’s during a book for African-American literature. His debut novel ‘Sister, Sister’ explored the lives and relationships of three siblings. It was a powerful and moving portrayal of African-American life and was recently named one of the 50 Most Impactful Black Books of the Last 50 Years by Essence magazine.

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He was often praised for his ability to write “believable and powerful” female characters. Indeed his female characters were so engaging he quickly gained a huge female readership, leading to the New York Times calling him the “chick lit king.”

Calvin Reid, an editor at trade magazine Publishers Weekly, said: “He captures black language and black middle-class characters with more depth than you often see in commercial fiction.”

He soon branched out into stories of crime and suspense, though he never left the steamy tangled relationships he had become known for.

Dickey had four daughters but avoided basing his plots on his own life. “I avoid my life,” he once said. “It bores me. Trust me. A book about me would be a snoozefest.”

His final novel, The Son of Mr Suleman, will be published in April.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope Review

Who’d have thought that Star Wars and Shakespeare go hand to hand perfectly?

Well it turns out that author Ian Doescher did and he hits it out the park with ‘Verily, A New Hope’ the first entry in his Star Wars/Shakespeare saga.

As it turns out, the story of Star Wars, with all of its drama, tragedy, romance, humour, and amazing characters fits brilliantly into Shakespeare literary world.

As a big Star Wars fan, and somewhat of a Shakespeare admirer I jumped at the chance to check this book out, and boy am I glad I did.

I love A New Hope, I know the story inside and out, but this was like experiencing it all over again for the first time. As soon as I opened the book and read a Shakespearian version of the famous opening scroll I knew I was in for one hell of an enjoyable experience.

For the most part the script here follows the events of A New Hope beat for beat. Every now and then though the author is able to take advantage of creative license and grants a character an aside or a soliloquy to convey their feelings to the audience, it’s very Shakespearian, and it’s very fun.

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What is strange reading this book though is seeing how the art of storytelling has evolved over time.

Today writers are told to show don’t tell, they have to show a characters thoughts and motivations, simply telling the reader about them is too easy, too simple for a modern audience. Yet Shakespeare is filled with character soliloquies where we are told in no uncertain terms about their emotions, thoughts, and desires.

Even though the story being told here is only 40ish years old it felt like reading something from hundreds of years ago, it felt utterly foreign.

I loved it though, no matter how strange it felt to read. Where it would really shine though is on the stage, as all of the great Bard’s works do. This is made for the theatre and boy would that be a treat.

11.22.63 by Stephen King Review

If you could go back in time and change the course of human history would you do it? Even if it meant sacrificing so much of your own life in the process?

Well that’s the premise of Stephen Kings 54th fiction book, 11.22.63.

King gives us a new protagonist in the form of Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls Maine, because of course he is. It doesn’t take long for King to uproot our heroes life and sent him hurting back through time to the world of 1958 small town America.

Gone are the cell phones and tablet computers, now Jake finds himself in a world filled with Elvis, Plymouth cars, a beautiful librarian called Sadie Dunhill, and of course a troubled loner called Lee Harvey Oswald, a man who slowly comes to dominate Jake’s life.

11.22.63 is Stephen King at something resembling his best. His prowess with weaving together political, social and popular culture into this version of baby-boom America is exquisite. The suspense is palpable across most of its many pages, not to mention its many trips through time.

King is best known for his out and out horror novels, and while this certainly isn’t a horror book it does have enough existential and psychological dread to keep the heart pounding and the mind racing.

The complexities and ethical dilemmas of time travel are well explored in 11.22.63, what will altering the past do to the future? What will it mean for Jake personally? Will he really be creating a better world or is that some naïve hope he must cling to to see his mission fulfilled?

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You see no matter how long Jake spends in the past when he returns to his own time only two minutes will have elapsed, this allows him the chance to go back in time over and over again to the same point and keep trying to change the past and the future. If something doesn’t work out to his liking, and quite often it doesn’t, he can try again, but something, perhaps the past itself, really doesn’t like being changed. The closer Jake gets to his goal the more something out their in the universe wants him to fail.

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While this was a good read, with many interesting questions to ponder, it does get bogged down a little during the middle section. Across many of the middle chapters the suspense and tension we had come to love waned slightly, never disappearing but certainly lessening its grip upon you. During this part King focuses on the romance between Jake and Sadie, which while interesting was certainly a good deal longer than it needed to be, about two hundred pages longer if I’m honest.

Once we get into the final third of the book though the action picks up once again and King does a good job at answering most of the questions he posed at the beginning. It’s a mostly satisfying conclusion which wasn’t quite worth the lengthy wait but rounded out the story nicely enough.

All in all this was a good read that I’d recommend for fans of King or time travel stories in general. Just be warned it is a long slog and the ending isn’t quite worth the time invested. King is great at creating his characters, and Jake is no exception, he’s a down on his luck teacher striving to find purpose in the mess that his life has become, he’s no larger than life hero, he’s simply a man doing what he believes is right. But not amount of interesting characters will improve the poor pacing on offer here.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

11.22.63 is available from Amazon.

We’re giving away copies of the brilliant Nevada Noir by David Arrowsmith

To celebrate the re-birth of Booklytical we have decided to give five lucky readers a copy of the very brilliant crime thriller Nevada Noir.

If you missed our review of this short trilogy you can find that here. I’d recommend giving it a read.

The copies of Nevada Noir will be bought through Amazon and will be in kindle format.

To enter this giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment on this post and on the 5th of January winner will then be selected at random and emailed.

We look forward to hearing from you all.

Eyes of Sleeping Children by D.A. Butcher Review

D.A. Butcher comes out swinging hard with this stunning debut novel. Eyes of Sleeping Children is a psychological thriller set in the 1930’s and takes place in a depression hit Kansas that is about to bare the brunt of a giant dust storm.

The focus of this story falls squarely upon the Lockhart family, and specifically upon the father Louis. As the storm begins to attack their small family farm the Lockhart’s seek shelter in their cellar.

Eyes of Sleeping Children Cover

Yet the storm is but the beginning of this families tragedies, after awakening from a troubled night of sleep Louis finds that his son, Jesse, is missing, yet there is neither a sign of forced entry or that the young boy has left the house.

Who, or possibly what, is to blame? While Louis looks for an answer within the reality he understands, his wife begins to break down and lay the blame squarely upon a figure from the realm of nightmares, The Sandman.

Louis must work quickly if he has any hope of ever seeing his son again, he sets out on a journey that will delve into the past, and into secrets long since lost to time.

But that’s enough about the book’s plot, I really would not want to ruin this one for you.

This is a daring, but well executed, debut novel that takes a number of different genres and themes and makes them all coalesce brilliantly as the story comes to its climax.

At times this feels like a locked room thriller, while at other times it delves wonderfully into some psychological twisted world that sends shivers racing up and down your spine. And yet through all of that it somehow manages to blend and balance it very nicely with a depression era set family and their day to day struggles and drama.

The story is told through the eyes and mind of Louis Lockhart, and for the most part he is an engaging and interesting character that we as outside readers can easily empathise with. And while there are a supporting cast of mostly interesting characters it is with Louis that we are firmly embedded, both narratively and emotionally.

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As Louis frantically begins his hunt to find his missing son the book ratchets up a notch and becomes a zealous race to unravel the mysteries and discover the truth lurking in the shadows. Over time though it is Louis himself who begins to unravel and whose mind deteriorates, while this gives for some excellent character focus and really brings Louis alive and fleshes out his characterisations, it also slows down the pace of the book at points to little more than a crawl. While this is not a major issue it does make the book feel imbalanced.

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Author Spotlight: D. A. Butcher discusses his life, his struggles, and his love for writing

Author Spotlight is our series that aims to give writers a platform to talk about the artform we all love, writing. This time around D. A. Butcher joins us to talk about his life, his struggles, and his passion for writing. Check out this excellent article. I grew up in London. My mother is Italian … Continue reading “Author Spotlight: D. A. Butcher discusses his life, his struggles, and his love for writing”

However, as the story enters its final acts it rekindles the fire that had burned so brightly at its opening. In fact by the final pages this book had burnt not only itself out but me as well, there are some disturbing scenes throughout this novel that have stayed with me long after the final word has fluttered its way through my mind.

The twists and turns that lead up to the grand finale are mind bindingly well conceived and that climax, boy was that a treat to behold. Throughout most of the novel I thought I knew the truth, I thought I was an all knowing reader, but I was very much mistaken, Butcher had more than a few tricks up his sleeve to leave me feeling the fool.

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Indeed so much of this book has stayed so vividly with me that while writing this review I feel like I have only just put it down when in reality I finished this book week ago, and have read many others since then.

Not only is the story well conceived it is also very well written, Butcher has the skills and talents of a much more seasoned writer.

There are a couple of negative points though, as with any book. I think there are a few pacing errors that make the book feel unbalanced, it almost feels like there are two books wearing the trench coat of one sometimes. The dialogue can at times feel a little stilted, and I would say there are a few too many metaphors and similes used which can slow down the pace of the book somewhat, but this is me being overly pedantic and attempting to find something to balance this review.

Overall this is easily one of the best debut novels I have ever read, indeed it is one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read period, and I will no doubt be diving back into again soon, and I sincerely implore all of you to do the same.

Rating

Rating: 10 out of 10.

If you’d like to check out Eyes of Sleeping Children for yourself, and I highly recommend you do, you can find it over on Amazon.

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We are looking for reviewers

We have a lot of awesome submitted books in our list that we have to review and sadly we aren’t superheroes.

I know its sad right? I so wish we were Iron man, or at the very least hawkeye.

But we aren’t. I cry myself to sleep every night because of it. But I digress.

We need reviewers.

We need people who love books and are looking for great indie books they’d never have read otherwise and who want to get their words out into the world.

Sadly

If you’re that kind of person hit us up at reviewforbooklytical@gmail.com

Hollow Road (Maer Cycle book 1) by Dan Fitzgerald Review

On the face of it Hollow Road (The Maer Cycle Book 1) by Dan Fitzgerald sounds like a straightforward and very formulaic fantasy novel. Three characters, Sinnie, Carl, and Finn are sent off on an adventure by a wealthy benefactor, and of course each character has devoted their life to a different profession.

Sinnie works for a travelling circus and is a badass with a bow, Carl is an experienced soldier, and Finn is training as a mage.

The Hollow road opens with the three childhood friends undertaking a mission back to the village of Brocland where they all grew up, taking with them the body of another friend, the son of a wealthy man called Leavitt. Not everything is quite as it seems however and what sounds like an easy mission is anything but.

While the story of a group of friends going on an adventure with dubious motives sounds familiar, its the characters and their development that sets the Hollow Road apart and makes it a truly unique experience to behold.

Along the route of their journey the three friends evolve, becoming closer while exposing their own weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but also showcasing their strengths and courage.

Dan Fitzgerald

When you combine these heroes with the mythical race known as the Maer you have a truly enjoyable read that keeps you hooked from start to finish.

For me the Maer are the standout aspect of the novel, they are an interesting and well thought out unknown element throughout that provides mystery and intrigue, and yet the truth about them is never quite what you thought it would be. The only downside is that they come into the story too late I found, I wanted more of them, I wanted to learn more, to know more.

Dan has done a great job with the writing here, its descriptive but with a good balance of action that keeps the plot moving along at a fast pace. What stands out for me though is his prowess with writing dialogue. While many writers write stilted or cheesy dialogue Dan has managed to create very natural sounding conversations, which is not as easy as it sounds.

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Sinnie, Carl, and Finn sound just like old friends would, they have an easy banter that really brings their decades old friendship to the forefront of the novel, their repartee is what hooks you into this story and you want nothing more than to experience their changing relationships and see what happens next.

And on that note I really cannot wait to see what Dan does next with these characters, there’s so much to see and do in this world he has created, and so many places for these characters to take us.

I highly recommend you check this book out.

Rating

Rating: 10 out of 10.

You can pre-order your copy of Hollow Road for yourself from Amazon, it is released on the 17th of September.

Author Spotlight: Dominic Hodgson discusses his love for writing and his series The Ragnarök Chronicles

By Dominic Hodgson

When I saw the posting for being among the authors contributing to this series, the examples given for the kinds of topics that could be covered included discussing why I got into writing in the first place. Well, the answer to that is that I always have been, at the latest since the age of four, wherein toys would become characters and rooms their terrain.

Of course many of the ideas from that time weren’t ones that I’ve subsequently looked to pursue, plus to this day my head will at any moment offer me yet more premises big and small that cannot all be explored.

However, there were nevertheless favourites among them that lingered, granted they evolved over time into stories that don’t sound like they were made up by an infant, and as these chosen ideas were collected, I would make note of them upon numerous A5 slips of paper. This then led to a day when I was around ten where upon looking at all these papers together across my desk it occurred to me that with a little tweaking they could conceivably exist within the same continuity.

Thus timelines were drawn and elements were made officially recurring, leading to The Ragnarök Chronicles being born, albeit not in exactly the same form as it’s in today. I decided this would be what I would spend my life doing, getting this grand science fiction saga to publication so that the world could join me in getting to know this connected multiverse.

With this always having been my driving passion therefore, almost every pursuit I have taken in life has been chosen because it might help me in getting to this goal.

I found ways to do my writing for school assignments, I did work experience in a publishing house. I elsewise read plenty alongside, mainly series of fantasy. I was fortunate enough to additionally have a hand at alternatively telling stories through the likes of theatre, both scripted and improvised.

At university I studied English & Creative Writing, during which I finished writing the four books that would comprise the first chapter in this franchise I am creating. In the meantime I also worked as a tutor of Maths and Science, with those being just as much passions of mine, even if I don’t want to properly go into those fields beyond using interesting parts from them to strengthen the worlds of my books.

It’s at this point that we come to the current wider societal circumstance. It had always been my plan to, after finishing with tutoring, take at least something of a break to completely dedicate myself to my writing, so when it came to now spending more time at home I made sure I made the most of it in that regard.

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As such in the last couple of months I’ve re-edited my first manuscript, Gift of the Mancynn, and gone through the process of having it self-published, as well as building the foundations for a greater online presence to aid in the spreading of word to go with it. With how long it can take, and because I already had most things ready, it didn’t seem best to me to pursue traditional publishing routes in, once more, the present situation.

I can’t know what the future is going to hold, I can’t assume that this state of dedicated writing will last, but while it does I shall push forward still, with the rest of this first set of four books similarly set to be able to be released at apt times, hopefully regularly over the course of the next year so that readers won’t be left waiting long for the following instalment.

So enough about me. What is this Gift of the Mancynn I mentioned actually about? 2016 was a turbulent year for many, especially for Philip Quint, who learned of his apparent role in a plan for the wider scope of reality. He has always possessed special abilities, ones he cannot explain yet is also aware must be kept secret.

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He’s therefore otherwise had a pretty regular adolescence, however at the end of his latest school year things take a turn of the uncertain, this coinciding with him being approached by mysterious otherworldly figures. They inform him that they gave him these abilities so that he could, when the time is right, take on the position of their emissary on Earth.

Philip and his friends are hence swept up in a journey around the globe and further, discovering en route just some of the ways in which it has been shaped from the outside, all the while the chosen teen knows he must decide whether he should embrace or reject this destiny, if he can in the second case at all.

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There’s an ancient conflict spanning the dimensions that’s reached its way to Earth, the immortal Brethren Lords seeking to turn our world to their own devices, meanwhile other forces may be looking to manipulate these powerful beings in turn. The wheels are already in motion, all that can change is whose side anyone’s on. Who can Philip trust?

The Ragnarök Chronicles, as the broader series, seeks to combine various avenues of science fiction with interpretations of just as many world mythologies in stories set across time, space and beyond. Just as how the likes of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books can be read relatively independently of each other while all existing within the same world, there just being some weaving threads through recurring characters, so too can the different areas of The Ragnarök Chronicles be dipped into on their own yet if consumed together build towards a wider history (although here the respective ‘sub-series’ are denoted by the year in which they’re set as is made clear on each book’s cover).

With it planned to ultimately consist of fifty-five entries in total, this is to be an endeavour that shall continue to play a major part in my life overall. That being said, there are other works also buzzing around my head that I’d secondarily like to get to if I get the chance, including ideas for other franchises that already exist; people who know me will likely have heard me say that I want to write for the likes of Doctor Who someday.

Even if that doesn’t come to pass that again won’t stop the thoughts being there all the same, for instance I have even less of a chance of ever being involved with Nintendo yet that hasn’t prevented me right now from coming up with twenty-one new Mario game concepts over the course of much more time than is good for my efficiency with more important matters.

Well, on that lattermost note, I probably should actually be getting back to work. I’ll leave you, reader, with just this then: whatever it is you are reading, I hope it’s a good one.

You can check out Gift of the Mancynn for yourself over on Amazon.

JK Rowling returns award after Kerry Kennedy criticism

JK Rowling has decided she will be giving back an award associated with the US Kennedy family, this comes after the author’s faced continuing criticism for her views on gender and trans issues.

Rowling was given the Ripple of Hope honour by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation last year.

However, earlier this month, the foundations president, Kerry Kennedy, said views expressed by the author “diminished the identity” of trans people.

Rowling released a statement in response to this which says that Kennedy’s implication that she is transphobic is “incorrect”.

But what’s this argument all about?

Back in June the Harry Potter author first sparked controversy by posting tweets that took issue with the phrase “people who menstruate”.

Rowling didn’t like the avoidance of using the word “women”.

During a lengthy blog post, Rowling said her interest in trans issues has derived from being a survivor of abuse and her concerns around single-sex spaces.

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them,” she wrote. “At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”

Several stars from the Harry Potter film universe quickly distanced themselves from her comments, including Eddie Redmayne, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.

In response earlier this month Kennedy posted a statement, which read: “I have spoken with JK Rowling to express my profound disappointment that she has chosen to use her remarkable gifts to create a narrative that diminishes the identity of trans and non-binary people, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community.

“One that disproportionately suffers from violence, discrimination, harassment, and exclusion and, as a result, experiences high rates of suicide, suicide attempts, homelessness, and mental and bodily harm.

Black trans women and trans youth in particular are targeted.”

She has also said that the foundation has rejected Rowling’s view that an individuals gender is the one they are assigned at birth.

“From her own words, I take Rowling’s position to be that the sex one is assigned at birth is the primary and determinative factor of one’s gender, regardless of one’s gender identity – a position that I categorically reject.”

Rowling published her own statement in response within which she says she disagrees that “there is no conflict between the current radical trans rights movement and the rights of women”.

She also says that “thousands of women” had got in touch with her to show their support and called for a more nuanced debate.

“Clinicians, academics, therapists, teachers, social workers, and staff at prisons and women’s refuges have also contacted me,” she continued.

“These professionals, some at the very top of their organisations, have expressed serious concerns about the impact of gender identity theory on vulnerable adolescents and on women’s rights, and of the dismantling of safeguarding norms which protect the most vulnerable women.

“None of them hate trans people.”

She went on to explain why she’s returning the award: “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR [Robert F Kennedy Human Rights] has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience.”

After this statement Rowling began to receive support online with the hashtag #IStandWithJKRowling trending on social media.

Warehouse Dreams by Theresa Halvorsen Review

This is an interesting novel with complex moral issues at its core, and an interesting sci-fi plot to keep you engaged.

Like many good science-fiction novels Warehouse Dreams raises, and attempts to address, an interesting ethical dilemma. Should we, as a society, sacrifice the few in order to improve the lives of the many? Should we allow scientists to mess with our genes to create the ‘perfect’ human? And if so should we allow the rich to take advantage of that?

Theresa Halvorsen spares no time in getting this hypothetical situation going. She doesn’t bother with a slow build-up, or with a gentle introduction to the characters and setting, instead she throws us straight into the action and just gets on with telling her tale, and for the most part this works very well.

The focus in Warehouse Dreams is very much on the characters, the action, and the rapid exploration of her story.

Warehouse Dreams tells the story of Kendle, assistant to the administrator of the Warehouse, the only school for children with Wild psychic abilities. Unlike the scientifically perfect ‘Bred’ children (those scientifically created), the Wilds are unpredictable and ostracizes by society, leaving them with nowhere to go, nowhere but the Warehouse anyway.

Soon a handsome new teacher called Stephen begins working at the school to teach telepathic control to the children. It doesn’t take long for a relationship to bloom between him and Kendle.

This is a sci-fi adventure novel with an underlying pseudo-romance that is both intriguing and unique.

I’m not going to say anything else about the story here because quite frankly you need to experience this book for yourself. So I’ll move on to my commentary.

A notable weakness of the novel, at least for me, was the lack of description. The action and the characters take precedent here over language, and while that helps move the plot along with a brisk pace, I did feel that at times a little poetic prose would be nice. Though that’s a personal preference and doesn’t really take away from the overall experience.

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Warehouse Dreams is a character driven story, its primary focus is on their emotions, their thoughts, and on their development. So it’s a great thing that Kendle, Stephen, and many of the students are well realised creations that fully inhabit the world Halvorsen has crafted for them.

While this may sound like a simple formulaic YA novel on the face of it, it is actually far more than that. This is really an allegory of societies treatment of minorities and the differently abled. This book poses questions about how we live, the level of scientific intrusion we are willing to endure for a better life, and the way in which we treat people different from ourselves.

This is a well crafted novel with complex moral issues at its core, and an interesting sci-fi plot to keep you engaged, no easy feat all told.

There are still many questions and aspects of this universe to explore so I sincerely hope there are more installments coming.

Rating

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

You can get yourself a copy of Warehouse Dreams from Amazon.

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