#Blogival2016: Hadrian’s Rage by Patricia Marie Budd

Cover - Patricia M Budd 2015 v2

BLOGIVAL 2016 by Clink Street Publishing and Authoright

Book: Hadrian’s Rage

Author: Patricia Marie Budd (@PMBudd)

Synopsis:

Once an oasis in a world of destruction, the nation of Hadrian risks falling into disarray over its government’s persecution of heterosexual relationships, in this standalone  dystopian sequel by gifted Canadian writer.

The nation of Hadrian is close to breaking point. After fifty years as a relative oasis at the heart of a world polluted by disease and despair, the death of Todd Middleton — a 16-year-old who dared to disregard the laws prohibiting straight relationships and natural reproduction — has moved many of Hadrian’s citizens to question the country’s rules governing sexual equality.

Extract:

This excerpt is from the chapter A Social Experiment. The social experiment conducted two Russian men who illustrated just how homophobic the streets of Russia really are inspired it.

The following morning, Kendra and Sid bravely wrap arms around each other. The physical contact denoting affection for someone of the opposite sex is foreign to both, but their intellectual understanding of the experiment allows both to overcome the oddity of the moment. Directing her attention to the back of Prasert’s turban where he has adeptly hidden a small video recording device, Kendra giggles. “I can’t believe we’re actually using one of those archaic video devices.”

“Hey,” Sid reminds her, “some students need them. We can’t all afford expensive vocs.”

“No,” Kendra agrees, “but a good voc cam records ten times better than that old thing.”

“And how obvious would that be with Prasert walking backwards just to film us?” Kendra concedes the point and Sid shouts for Prasert to begin.

The couple walks casually through the Uni Park, taking a moment to enjoy the flowers, cross the small bridge over the babbling creek, as well as do a little bird watching, every movement calculated to reflect a young couple in love. It doesn’t take long for the experiment to unveil some of the more guarded prejudices people hold. The people they pass begin to stop and stare. Someone even calls out to his friends, “Hey, look—it’s a couple of strais!”

Laughter follows and someone else shouts, “You sick fucks don’t belong here.” “Yeah,” another voice adds. “Leave Hadrian, why don’t cha?”

And then someone purposely bumps into Sid. This happens a few more times, with men slamming into Sid’s shoulder and women slamming into Kendra’s. Suddenly, someone grabs Kendra and shoves her aside. The next thing Sid knows, a man twice his size in both height and weight has shoved his face up against his nose and started yelling, “What the fuck are you doing here, strai?” Much of the abuse blurs in Sid’s ears, but Prasert catches it all on cam. Prasert’s first instinct is to turn around and help his lover, but Kendra manages to extract Sid from a potentially volatile situation, so Prasert turns away again to continue capturing the event for posterity.

“We aren’t strai,” Kendra now pleads to the crowd. “We just lost a bet. We lost a bet. That’s all. To pay up, we had to walk around Uni Park, pretending we were strais.”

The big man looks Kendra’s way before turning his scowls back at Sid. “That true?”

Sid picks up where Kendra left off. “Yeah, man; it’s just a prank. We lost a bet. Our buddies made us do this.”

“Fuckin’ stupid bet. Your friends must hate you.”

“Yeah,” Kendra agrees, trying desperately to convince the man. “I would have been a lot happier having to down a dozen shooters or guzzle a mickey of rye.”

This confession convinces the man and he laughs. Suddenly, he and Sid are best buds. He wraps an arm around Sid’s shoulder and gives him a shake. “You two were really good. I really thought you were a knife and a stab walking that way.”

“Yeah, well,” Sid says as he breathes a sigh of relief, “that was part of the bet. We had to make it look real.”

When Kendra is finally able to extricate Sid from his “new best friend,” the three of them head back to Sid’s place to debrief.

“Man, I’m telling you,” Sid readily admits, “that man scared the shit out of me. I thought I was dead.”

“I know,” Kendra concurs. “The way he grabbed me and shoved me…Look.” She points to the bruise on her left bicep. “That fucker really hurt me.” Now looking her brother’s way, she adds, “I had no idea what it feels like to be so hated. It’s horrible.” Shaking her head, looking directly into the vid cam Prasert is holding, she declares, “Everyone in Hadrian needs to know what this feels like.” Now talking directly to their future audience, she says, “If you could feel what Sid and I went through today, just for walking arm-in-arm, you would never want—you could never want—no decent human being could ever justify treating another person that way ever again!”

*********

Thanks to Patricia for providing the extract and if you liked what you’ve read her books Hadrian’s Lover and Hadrian’s Rage (the second int the series) can both be purchased from online retailers including amazon.co.uk or you can follow Patricia @pmbudd .

Also to follow more author and blogger fun check out the next stops on the #Blogival2016 calendar: Linda’s Book Bag and Chocolate Pages !

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To Read List and Events Coming Up This Summer

Life has been rather hectic of late and I haven’t got around to reviewing for a while however, that doesn’t mean I don’t have an eclectic to-read list that I am very excited to get cracking on whilst sat in Battersea Park this summer.

Take a look at some of the titles below…

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Also, as you may know as well as blogging, I  work within the publishing industry and have been working with the rest of my team at Authoright to organise Clink Street Publishing’s (our imprint) digital festival for bloggers and authors. This is a celebration of all our wonderful authors as well as a to the important work bloggers do for debut or unknown authors. Exclusive extracts, posts and interviews as well as reviews will be popping up across the internet throughout the month of June. Follow all the action by using the #Blogival and look out for this calendar popping up across social media and fellow blogs.

Blogival Poster_WhiteBlogival Calendar

Jasper Fforde: The Thursday Next Collection

61B0xfbQKVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Thursday Next Collection: The Eyre Affair

Author: Jasper Fforde

Synopsis:
There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where the Crimean war still rages, dodos are regenerated in home-cloning kits and everyone is deeply disappointed by the ending of ‘Jane Eyre’. In this world there are no jet-liners or computers, but there are policemen who can travel across time, a Welsh republic, a great interest in all things literary – and a woman called Thursday Next. 

I’ve been desperately searching for another eccentric author that forces me to put the rest of my life on hold in order to keep reading, and once finished have me racing to a bookshop to by the second one in the series. Previous authors have included: Andrew Kaufman (Born Weird), Kyril Bonfiglioli (Mortdecai) and Jean Teulé (The Suicide Shop). Jasper Fforde is my current one.

Fforde’s flair and intelligent smashing together of literary characters and crime presents readers with a real treat that will have you chuckling away in joy, and wonderment, as to how the man has created such genius characters and plot lines.

The main protagonist, Thursday Next, is a damaged, yet sassy, independent lady who displays flagrant disregard for authority. Instead of greasing palms she simply gets the job done kicking ass all the while. She also has a pet Dodo. Her uncle, Mycroft, is a genius inventor and the trips to the shed where he reveals his new creations are fascinating and brilliant. Her father is also a wonderfully whimsical character but his role is rather complex to explain and better to be read for yourself. Hades, the baddy, is genuinely horrible and incredibly sinister holding literary characters hostage and others who cross him trapped between a book’s pages.

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A notable character, and my personal favourite so far, is saved for the second book in the Thursday Next series -Lost in a Good Book.  In this crime caper we are treated to the indomitable Miss Havisham who, as characterised by Fforde, is definitely  someone you’d want to be friends with and have on your side in a fight.

All in all, I was attracted by the retro front cover, seduced by the synopsis and hooked after the first page therefore, I will be buying all the author’s books and I urge you to do the same.

Rating: 10 our of 10

Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Lunch at Hélène Darroze

BreakfastAtTiffanysTitle: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Author: Truman Capote

Synopsis: It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, for Holly Golightly: glittering socialite traveller, generally upwards, sometimes sideways and once in a while – down. Pursued by to Salvatore ‘Sally’ Tomato, the Mafia sugar-daddy doing life in Sing Sing and ‘Rusty’ Trawler, the blue-chinned, cuff-shooting millionaire man about women about town, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock deparment’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.

Refreshments: Martinis of course -classic gin ones are the best.

Review: Not sure how or why it’s taken me so long to read this book, and a short book it is too, but I finally got around to it thanks to a family member buying it me for Christmas. Capote has amazing flair for creating distinguished and unique characters, something that doesn’t really need to be said but I’m doing it anyway. His most iconic creation Holly Golightly is a most charismatic young lady who has men falling at her feet, she’s damaged, completely self-centred and utterly wonderful. We are offered little in the way of information on the narrator, a writer himself, and also those who remain stuck fast in her orbit -although notable exceptions are those of Miss Wildwood and ‘Rusty’ Trawler.

A beautiful story revealing the flaws in human nature and the dark shadows that lurk under the frothy topping of the American dream.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Where: Hélène Darroze, at The Connaught MayfairHelene

What: Two Michelin-Starred restaurant “a thrilling expression of French culinary craft, delivered with a contemporary flourish, enjoyed in a truly elegant setting.”

When: Sunday Lunch in February.

Food & Drink:

There’s the option of three, five or seven courses -we went for the five which includes one dessert. You’re provided with the menu which comes, as you see in the photo above, as a game of the most delicious marbles ever. Each of the marbles has just one word which describes the key ingredient of each dish.

I selected: Onion, Scallop, Turbot, Pigeon and Pineapple with accompanying matched wines -because it was a treat.

I don’t want to spoil the surprises and overall experience of going to this incredible restaurant for anyone, so I won’t wax lyrical too much about how astoundingly delicious every plate of food was. especially the onion. How someone can pack that many different tastes, textures and smells from one vegetable is ridiculous and I for one will never take it for granted again.

One of the signature dishes and one which my dining partner -and birthday boy- chose was the Signature Savarin. Light as air cake with tart, and refreshing, sorbet of green apple finished off with one of her brother’s, Francis Darroze, Armagnacs poured over the top giving it a leathery and boozy punch.

The wine pairing was exceptional and the sommelier was one of the best I’ve encountered. Incredibly informative and also conversational, happy to share more insight when pressed and alerted us to an Artisan Wine Fair that will be taking place in Shoreditch in May. One of the most memorable of the wines paired was the one with the turbot which was a glass of Condrieu, “La Petite Côte”, Yves Cuilleron.

The passing of each dish was a bittersweet affair as I knew we were edging closer to the end of the culinary delights coming out of the kitchen. Good lord this was incredible and with the prices definitely a dinner for  a special occasion, hopefully one we can repeat again very soon.

Rating: 10 out of 10

 

A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood

AMediatationonMurderTitle: A Meditation on Murder

Author: Robert Thorogood ( @robthor)

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA.

Why I chose to read the book?

You may have watched, or at the very least heard of, a brilliant murder mystery TV series set in the Caribbean called Death in Paradise -which I am a little bit in love with as it is my favourite genre of TV and has a cast that includes Danny John-Jules. It also has a new series starting on BBC One on 7th January, however, if you have Netflix start at the beginning because -and sorry to the new actress- the original leading lady who plays Camille is far fa superior.

Refreshments

Rum punch or if you don’t have a cocktail shack in your living room -I don’t either- then you’ll have to settle for either a very British delicacy, tea, or a beer like Quilmes or Cristal.

Review

Aslan Kennedy has an idyllic life: leader of a spiritual retreat for wealthy holidaymakers on one of the Caribbean’s most unspoilt islands, Saint Marie. Until he’s murdered, that is. The case seems open and shut: when Aslan was killed he was inside a locked room with only five other people, one of whom has already confessed to the murder.

Detective Inspector Richard Poole is hot, bothered, and fed up with talking to witnesses who’d rather discuss his ‘aura’ than their whereabouts at the time of the murder. But he also knows that the facts of the case don’t quite stack up. In fact, he’s convinced that the person who’s just confessed to the murder is the one person who couldn’t have done it. Determined to track down the real killer, DI Poole is soon on the trail, and no stone will be left unturned.

Cosy murder mystery with a strong whoodunit puzzle and delightful characters that each have a definitive, and complimenting, personality -doesn’t hurt that I had the actors from the TV show narrating the book in my head and could picture the scene playing out.

A classic locked room murder, Thorogood brings each character to the forefront exploring their background, motivations and ability to murder Aslan. His narrative style is fascinating and insightful leaving you guessing you, almost, to the very last page. The character of Paul Sellars is a particularly odious individual who you’ll have the pleasure of meeting if you read this book.

It’s all been said before but, if you like the ideas behind the criminal investigations of Agatha Christie and Jonathan Creek then this is an author that you’ll enjoy as it’s brought bang up to date and into the sunshine.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Quality Chop House, Christmas Lunch

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 15.38.05Where: The Quality Chop House, 92 Farringdon Road London

When: Christmas lunch Thursday 17th December

Ambience & Service:  

I really enjoy the set up here narrow wooden banquets line the walls and there’s a constant buzz of activity without being fussy or obtrusive. The blue and white tiling and decor retains the original style of when it was simply a pie cafe. The waiting staff are friendly and informative everything is served with advice but in a lovely non patronising fashion.

Drink:

A glass of Colet Vins Vatua! which is a Spanish sparkling wine whetted the appetite and had a buttery and more intense grape flavour that can absent from some more budget bubbles. After that we paired our food with a exquisite Château Capbern-Gasqueton St Estèphe, a full-bodied, deep red with a smooth and rounded finish that won’t break the bank. In fact the wine list at this restaurant is of a superior quality all-round with no bottle being absurdly expensive or marked-up.

Food: ‘Christmas Set Lunch Menu

Starters are shared amongst those in the party like an English tapas and these included:

Smoked cod’s roe, pig’s skin, egg yolk – this was like a giant pork flavoured quaver crisp, aerated and delicious that just disappeared on the tongue and was complimented delightfully by the salty fish and tiny little textures of egg.

Breaded brawn, burnt apple – slow cooked game meat (we believe Duck) lightly deep fried was divine and tender I could have eaten about a million of them in one sitting.

Beetroot cured salmon, horseradish, watercress – classic combination that doesn’t really need any explanation about how tasty it is, was and forever will be.

Game, prune & pistachio terrine, cranberry – this was crunchy and well-balanced and the cranberry chutney that accompanied it was sharp and bright and cut through the richness beautifully.

Carrot and Comte wasn’t sure about this to begin with as all you could smell was the pungent aroma of the cheese but actually the sweetness of the carrot really flattered the it’s nuttiness.

Main course again sharing plates

Angus beef ~ Topside & Smoked short rib genuinely once of the best plates of beef I have ever eaten especially the short rib which was smoked with pine and melt in the mouth and tickled all the tastebuds. The topside was served perfectly pink and carried such depth of flavour I could have kissed the chef(s) add a tiny slather of potent horseradish or mustard made it perfection.

Honey roasted parsnips – soft, sweet and moreish.

Brussels sprouts, chestnut, lardons, brown butter – how sprouts should always be cooked and then it they might increase their fan base.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 15.37.04Confit potatoes – crisped within an inch of their life, a bit like those chips you get from the fish and chip shop at the bottom of your paper cone, but where you could still see the layers of buttery potato that melted in the mouth.

Dessert -not 100% necessary after the extra round of confit potatoes.

Chocolate ganache, peanut praline, salted caramel – I could not finish it as it was incredibly rich, and I’m more of a cheese plate kind of girl, but it was smooth with the salty nut cutting through the intensity of the dark chocolate.

Rating: 10 out of 10 -go here go here now and as often as you can, if you can’t sit and eat visit the adjoined butcher and deli and try and create happiness back at home.

 

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

935885._UY200_Title: Scoop

Author: Evelyn Waugh

Review:

Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another.Acting on a dinner-party tip from Mrs Algernon Smith, he feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising little war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. One of Waugh’s most exuberant comedies, Scoop is a brilliantly irreverentsatire of Fleet Street and its hectic pursuit of hot news.

William is a wonderfully brilliant, eccentric and quintessential Englishman who you fall in love with immediately and who brings so much entertainment and mirth throughout the narrative. I really wanted to be his friend especially when he was choosing his equipment to go to Ishmaelia and it included a canoe for no reason whatsoever. Equally his absolutely bonkers wider family who all reside at Boot Magnet are genius and reminiscent of a scene from Charlie Bucket’s grandparents house. Lord Cooper is also fantastic and provides a character through which Waugh cleverly satirises the elite classes and the media.

Waugh’s flair and ability to capture people’s character traits is genius and this is a brilliant read that isn’t that long if you’ve got a to be read pile that’s quite high.

I’ve already got Vile Bodies on my Christmas list for this year.

Rating: 9 out of 10