Flash Fiction: The Date.

Okay so I’ve been trying to stick to a regular Tuesday and Friday upload schedule for this blog but I didn’t have a book review to post, so instead I thought I’d post another piece of flash fiction.

Originally I wrote this trying to break into the woman’s magazine fiction scene but I could never get it to fit the guidelines so I posted it on Wattpad.  Unfortunately nobody really read it there, (chicklit is not my usual genre of choice), so I took it down.  I done a few minor adjustments before posting it here, I hope you enjoy!

The Date.

As usual the Snack Stop Café was packed with the lunchtime rush of shop and office workers. The aroma of the day’s special, Chicken Korma reached Kylie’s nose. She was so hungry she could have eaten everything on the menu plus a chair or two. Perhaps even a table.

It was all because of this stupid blind date Amber, her best friend, had set up. She claimed Kylie needed to ‘get her back in the game’ whatever that meant. All Amber would tell her about him was his name; Alexander. It was an intimidating name, not Alex or Al but the whole Alexander. She immediately tried to back out but Amber wasn’t taking it.

But he’s perfect for you,” Amber pleaded. “Do you know how long I’ve been working on setting you two up?”

Immediately Kylie felt annoyed and guilty at the same time. Yes, she’d been making excuse after excuse to get out of the date yet she didn’t want to let her best friend down…but what if he looked like Piers Morgan?

So much to her chagrin, she let Amber drag her shopping to find the perfect outfit to dazzle him into ignoring all obvious her flaws. Kylie had spotted it right away. The ideal shade of purple that made her eyes look more blue than grey, her pale skin glow and brought out the golden highlights in her otherwise mousy brown hair. Only one minor problem, it was a little bit too tight and the last one in the shop. She was determined to drop a few pounds but only had three days to do it.

So she dieted and exercised and drank green tea until it came out of her ears all for tonight. She had to admit her skirt did feel a little looser.

Her stomach rumbled.

Whoa,” said the man who had just appeared next to her. “Is there a bear in here?”

She turned to face him. A large pair of glasses and a cheesy grin met her. He wore a novelty PAC-Man t-shirt and skinny jeans more suitable to a twenty-something than the almost pushing forty as he was. More annoyingly he was lean, in a I-can-eat-what-I-want-and-not-get-fat-kind-of-way.

God I hate him.

Kylie rolled her eyes at him and returned to the menu.

He wasn’t giving up

Kylie?” He said reading the name tag her boss at the bank insisted she wear. “Were you named after Kylie Minogue by any chance?”

Maybe if I ignore him, he’ll go away, she thought.

No such luck.

So, what’s good here, apart from the gorgeous company, of course.”

Look I’m really not in the mood for your bad chat up lines, so just move along,” she snapped.

Okay,” He put his hands up in mock surrender, “if I don’t chat you up, can recommend something good to eat? It’s my first time here.”

Oh,” Kylie pursed her lips feeling a little bad for snapping at him. “The burgers are good.”

Or the ham and cheese panini.”

Or the tuna bake.”

Okay, that’s a lot of choices,” he snapped his fingers. “I tell you what, I’ll just have what your having.”

You’ll be disappointed, I’m probably going to have the chicken salad.”

Kylie’s stomach rumbled again even louder.

Is there a reason you’re starving yourself?”

I have a date and this dress. It’s a little small…”

Does the dress have magical powers?”

No.”

Then why can’t you wear another one?”

Really?”

Well, if I was your date, I prefer if you didn’t look like you were about to gnaw my arm off.”

As oppose to a date that was bursting out of her dress?”

I’m not opposed to that,” he said winking.

Kylie stifled a smile. She looked at him again, properly this time, behind the glasses were a pair of warm brown eyes and his smile wasn’t as cheesy as she first thought.

Sorry, flirting. Won’t happen again,” he smiled, not sounding remotely sorry.

I’ll make you a deal, you eat anything you like and if your idiot of a date doesn’t find you utterly irresistible,” he grabbed one of the café’s menus and wrote something on it, “here’s my number. Do you know, you really do have beautiful eyes, when you’re not rolling them at me, that is. So sorry, flirting again.”

Kylie felt bloated. After her mystery lunchtime friend had left she’d eaten a burger, chips, a muffin topped off by a chocolate milkshake. Now, she was sitting in at a table in the fancy restaurant that Amber had picked for her date, fidgeting with the hem of the black dress she’d hastily pulled on after the purple one didn’t fit.

Damn that stupid man, she thought

His number was still crumpled in the front pocket of her handbag. She just checked on it five minutes ago to make sure it hadn’t disappeared.

Kylie?”

She turned round to see her lunchtime friend dressed in a grey suit had taken the seat opposite her.

He actually looking like an adult, a debonair, James bond kind of…then she caught a sight of his socks. They were bright green with dinosaurs on them.

What are you doing here? Actually doesn’t matter I’m waiting for my date.”

That would be me.”

You? You’re Alexander?”

I prefer Xander if that’s all right with you.”

Okay Xander,” she replied, her voice laced with disdain.

She grabbed her bag, getting up.

Xander grabbed her hand. It felt warm and soft.

Okay, confession time,” he said nervously, “I kind of followed you to the café, I mean, not here. You see I’ve never been on a blind date and I was nervous…”

So you stalked me?” She snapped pulling her hand away from his.

You call it stalking I call it research,” He replied cheekily.

Kylie’s mouth dropped open.

I can’t believe you just said that.”

So, is this the dress?” he said trying to change the subject.

Oh what, no, it didn’t fit.”

Shame.”

What?”

I really wanted to see you burst out of it.”

She raised an eyebrow, trying to stifle a smile.

You look really pretty when you smile. Sorry flirting won’t happen again.”

Isn’t flirting what you’re meant to do on a date?”

So, you aren’t going to storm out of here and tell everyone you know that I’m some sort of weirdo?”

She hesitated a little. “The night is young.”

Xander’s stomach growled.

Whoa, is there a bear in here?” Kylie said repeating his words from earlier.

They laughed.

She looked at Xander as they sat back down and thought;

I may not have been wearing the prefect dress but who needs perfect anyway?

© LJ Cassidy

The picture is not my own.

On The Shelf Book Review: Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Genre: Mystery/thriller.

Publication Date: 10th August

Description:

A brilliant high-concept thriller – a debut with all the intrigue of Gone Girl and the drama of Before I Go To Sleep – just how do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday?

There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?

Review:

Okay when I picked this book I expected a plain old psychological thriller but what I didn’t expect was the element of Sci-fi. In this world after the age of twenty three you become divided into two groups Monos, who can only remember the previous day and Duos who can remember two days. Then there is the victim Sophia Alyssa Ayling who can remember everything.

She is hell bent on revenge against duo novelist wannabe MP Mark Henry Evans and his mono wife Claire but she is suddenly found dead in the River Cam. It then up to Inspector Hans Richardson (a mono masquerading as a duo) to uncover the truth.

I absolutely loved this book. The characters were fantastic and even though the story line was a bit ‘out there’ so to speak, I enjoyed seeing their story unfold. I honestly thought I’d figured out the murderer by about half way through but boy was I wrong (which I have to say doesn’t happen very often!). There’s plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes.

If you are looking for an out of the box mystery/thriller this is the book for you.

Rating: 4/5

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

On The Shelf Reviews: All The Ways The World Can End by Abby Sher

Genre: YA

Date of Publication: 27th July

Description:

Heartfelt, funny, clever YA fiction to appeal to fans of Jandy Nelson, John Green, Jennifer Niven and Ava Dellaira.

Lenny is preparing for the apocalypse. Every night, she researches vacuum decay, designer pathogens, that inexplicable sleeping sickness knocking people out in Kazakhstan.

Not many sixteen-year-olds are this consumed with the end of the world. But Lenny needs to have some sense of control. Her dad is dying of cancer. Her best friend Julian is graduating early and moving three states away. She’s having to rehearse for a toe-curling interpretive dance show at school, and deal with her mum’s indefatigable jolliness and smoothie-making in the face of the disaster they are confronting.

The one thing keeping her hopeful is Dr Rad Ganesh – her father’s oncologist. Surely Lenny can win him round to her charms – and he can save her father?

An infectiously funny story with an unforgettable heroine: a story about having to learn to let go of what you hold most dear – and learning to survive.

Review:

So this was a bit of tough read for me. My mother died of cancer and it brought up a lot of emotions watching through Lenny’s eyes as her dad is dying. I have to give the author credit for handling such a harrowing subject with great care and understanding.

But overall not my cup of tea, but I however found the different ways the world could end, like vacuum decay or nanotechnology, absolutely terrifying. 

There were also a lot of tired old tropes in this book which I’ll list below:

The sick girl. Yes, she was mentally ill, (OCD and anxiety) but in my eyes this still counts as the same thing.

The gay best friend who’s male. (This is not confined to YA, this is just a general one.)

She has no other friends. Well, it does mention another girl who she use to be friends with but that’s it.

The inappropriate crush. She develops a crush on Dr Ganesh, her father’s doctor, who thirty six and she’s only sixteen.

The ending was full of hope for the future which I did find touching but it was not enough to save this book in my eyes.

Rating: 2/5

I received an advanced copy of this via Netgalley.

 

On the Shelf Reviews: The Lying Planet by Carol Riggs

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi 

Book Description:

Promise City. That’s the colony I’ve been aiming for all my life on the planet Liberty. The only thing standing in my way? The Machine. On my eighteenth birthday, this mysterious, octopus-like device will scan my brain and Test my deeds. Good thing I’ve been focusing on being Jay Lawton, hard worker and rule follower, my whole life. Freedom is just beyond my fingertips.

Or so I thought. Two weeks before my Testing with the Machine, I’ve stumbled upon a new reality. The truth. In a single sleepless night, everything I thought I knew about the adults in our colony changes. And the only one who’s totally on my side is the clever, beautiful rebel, Peyton. Together we have to convince the others to sabotage their Testings before it’s too late.

Before the ceremonies are over and the hunting begins.

Review:

I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Jay Lawton is a good guy. Always does his best, helps others and completes his community service without complaint. He wants to get the highest score ever in his testing and go to the Promise City. But then his competitor (arch-nemesis is probably a bit too strong here) Blake, who was tipped for success, gets banished. Jay uncovers the truth about his planet overnight (literally) and he must do everything he can to stop the testings.

I found the goody-goody Jay character a bit annoying at first, a bit too strait laced, but as the story goes on he begins to rebel, he becomes a lot more interesting.

While I was reading this book I honestly thought to myself, ‘if this is how good Sci-Fi is why aren’t I reading more??’ It is so fast paced and action packed, I enjoyed it so much, when I finished it I wanted to read more!

My only issue was the few too many conveniently overheard conversations to drive the plot along and the last few chapters felt a little rushed but overall it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Rating: 5/5

On the Shelf Review: Blog Tour Maggie James, The Second Captive.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller.

Book Description:

Beth Sutton is eighteen years old when she is abducted. Held prisoner in a basement, she’s dependent on her captor for food, clothes and her very existence. As the months pass, her hatred towards her imprisoner changes to compassion.

But Beth cannot forget that her abductor is also a killer. And she has evidence to prove it…

Then Beth escapes

Can Beth escape from the prison that she has found herself in?

And is there a relationship between love and fear?

 

On the Shelf Review:

I received an advanced copy of this book via the publisher Bloodhound Books.

This is quite a slow burn psychological thriller that really gets inside the minds of both the victim, Beth and her abductor, Dominic. But I have to admit I got quite frustrated with this book. It started off so strong, with Beth escaping from her prison and finding her way home. We then find out about her seduction by the handsome and charming Dominic Perdue, then imprisonment and his subsequent manipulation, turning Beth into his ‘perfect’ companion.

But then I hit the middle and the story started to lag a little.

I don’t think this was helped by the switch in perspectives. The first half was Beth and Dominic and the second half was Ursula (Beth’s mother) and Beth. I would have loved to see a few chapters with Dominic’s view in the second half, see how he was reacting to Beth’s freedom.

It all culminated in an ending, (including a chapter were Ursula actually confronts Dominic), which while it tied up loose ends, it still fell a bit flat.

Rating: 3/5

 

Author Bio:

Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol. She writes psychological suspense novels.6142Per829L._UX250_

 Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MJamesFiction/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjamesfiction

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/828751.Maggie_James

Blog: http://www.maggiejamesfiction.com/blog

Website: http://www.maggiejamesfiction.com

Want to follow the rest of the tour?  Dates are as below:

BLOG TOUR (5)

On The Shelf Book Review: No Ordinary Star by MC Frank.

Genre: Sci Fi, Young Adult.

Book Description:

A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do.
A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive.
A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack.
The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It has also forgotten love and beauty.
The year is 2525.

Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic novel is set in a world where Christmas -among other things- is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace.

Written in three installments, this is the breathtaking and sensual story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time.

Immerse yourself into the icy cold world of this scorching hot new novel.

 

My Review:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was initially drawn to this series after seeing the beautiful covers on Instagram, as you know you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but after reading the except I was hooked.

I’ve read quite a few YA dystopian novels in my time, (maze runner, the hunger games etc) and I feel that M.C Frank has created a very unusual and interesting world here that stands out from the others.

The two main characters Felix, the tin soldier, and Astra the match girl have had opposite experiences in the world and I love the way they play off each other. Felix was a good soldier, always followed the rules and did what he was told, until his whole world is turned upside down when he finds out he has a Grandfather (they are told that all children are made artificially and do not have parents). He journeys to the north pole where he rescues, with the aid of the last polar bear in existence, Astra from drowning. Astra grew up on the colonies doing manual labour with the rest of the women (women are not allowed to come into contact with other men or any education, in case they get dangerous ideas) until she is thrown in the terrify box (a prison that so many people are crammed into there is just enough room for you to stand) after her father becomes one of the most wanted terrorists on the planet. She escapes and finds her way to the North Pole and helps Felix discover the ‘real’ world.

It’s a very short book, that will keep even the most fickle of readers interested.

My only problem was the action sort of petered out near the end and it kind of felt that the characters were just wandering from room to room for some of it.

But it is still a great read and I am so glad there is another book, as this one ended on a cliffhanger with so many unanswered questions!

Rating: 4/5

Author Website: http://www.mcfrankauthor.com/

On The Shelf Reviews Blog Tour: Enter The Dark by Chris Thomas.

Blog Tour for Enter The Dark by Chris Thomas. Includes synopsis, review and Author Bio.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Book Description:

An anonymous website, a few clicks, and Joe Henderson’s life is changed forever.

‘The Red Room’ is the only place where the inadequacies of a weak justice system are righted and where the line between good and evil becomes blurred. When the lights go up, viewers bid, criminals are punished, and the Brotherhood of the Righteous broadcasts a show like no other.

The room has remained hidden until now, when a video arrives in the inbox of the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit: the torture and killing of a notorious criminal. But outclassed, outplayed, and torn apart by corruption, is there anything Detective Pete Harris and his team can do except watch?

Their only lead may be the room’s latest bidder, Joe Henderson. Because when Joe found the Red Room, it found him too, and now the Brotherhood are watching through the wires, willing to do evil for a righteous cause, to become the men that even monsters are scared of.

As they pull Joe deeper into the dark web, will he find any mercy and any way out? Or will he be the Red Room’s next volunteer?

 

On The Shelf Review:

So I’ve read at least three of these ‘vigilante justice’ themed novels in the past six months but what I love is when an author takes a tired old idea and makes it their own, and this is the case with Enter the Dark.

It was one of those rare novels that once I started I just didn’t want to put it down.

There’s a fantastic array of characters from the naive Joe to the evil Saeed Anwar to the steadfast Detective Pete Harris.

It also has multiple POV’s, something I’m not usually a fan of but it really works for this story.

There are some great twists and turns within the story and stay tuned for the last one it’s a doozy!

My only issue, I’ll try to not give away any spoilers here, is that early on we find out that Detective Harris has been off for a significant amount of time and then that he is a single dad. It doesn’t really explain what happened to his wife until near the end and in my opinion should have really been brought up sooner to making the ending that bit more plausible.

I’d recommend this to fans of James Patterson, Tony Parsons or just anyone who enjoys a good edge of your seat thriller.

Rating: 4/5

 

Author Bio:

Chris Thomas was born near London in 1978 before moving to Buckinghamshire a few months later. He attended the University of Bristol, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1999. It was here that he developed his interest in criminal psychology and serial killers.

After a brief stint working at an investment bank in London, he left the City to work for his wife’s family business, a position he still holds.download (4)

Chris is an avid film fan, especially horror, thrillers and dark comedy- something that he tries to blend in his writing. After attending a creative writing course, he gained the confidence to pursue his dream of writing a novel. He self-published his debut novel The Red Room in February 2017 before joining the Bloodhound Books stable and re-releasing the book as Enter The Dark.

Further works are already in the planning, including a sequel to Enter The Dark, which is intended to be even more dark and disturbing!

In his spare time, Chris enjoys karate (holding a black belt) and spending time with his wife and two young daughters.

Links:

www.christhomas.com
www.facebook.com/christhomasauthor
@cthomasauthor1