Note: I would love for this to become a regular section/feature for my blog. If you are a self-published author or know a self-publish author who would appreciate a smallish publicity boost, I am happy to open my blog to you for the following:
- Honest Reviews
- Guest Posts
- Shout-outs (ie not a full review but a mention)
As I do not have the funds to purchase every book I want, I would be asking for either a pdf or a free hard copy of the book in question. Right now I'm not expecting a ton of people to take me up on this, but if for some reason, responses are unexpectedly overwhelming, I will work it on a first come-first read system which may cause a delay.
I've also been told my critiquing skills are slightly above the norm, and if you are planning to self-publish, I might be willing to look at your manuscript, perhaps in exchange for you looking at one of mine or some publicity consideration on your blog/social networks.
I retain the right to turn down any author based on material that doesn't sit right with my moral compass, such as erotica or anything I feel glorifies bad behavior.
So, I got the notification out of the way.
I first became aware of Angela Castillo (as a writer and a person) on the critique site Scribophile (you can see my post about joining here.). At the time she was working on polishing up her next book The Amazing Adventures of Toby the Trilby (book trailer here, website here, link to Goodreads giveaway here). We traded several critiques which gave me the opportunity to read her upcoming book in its unfinished form.
I was impressed enough that I sought out her first book, a collection of short stories and poems called Hidden Pictures.
While Angela is a Christian author and Toby the Trilby is an explicitly Christian work (an allegory in some ways) Hidden Pictures has little spiritual content but is rather a collection of stories and poems, most of which share a theme of something normal twisted onto its head. I like that sort of tale. My only complaint might be that the stories are a bit all over the map, from outright fantasy, to slice of life stories of the every day world, to humorous and tragic shorts. Still, this variety includes some very entertaining and sometimes poignant pieces.
Being a fantasy fan, my favorite was the first story The Falconry which involved a woman's strange, realistic dreams of a falcon keeper, but I really identified with the rural, wild homeschooling family in The Driveway that Time Forgot which included my favorite line from a mother who had been stranded at home alone because the road up to her home had washed out. When her worried family finally gets to her she says, "That's the most peace I've had in fifteen years!"
There are also poems in the book and I asked permission to include one of these in entirety here. It is one of the few spiritual works in the book and I absolutely adored it:
Branches snap under my feet,
weedy talons tear my skin,
as I follow this Someone
who walks before me.
A sword of flame rends
the veil that hides all forbidden.
my face is broken like clay,
stench of my faults, like ruined wine,
at once cleared.
Father gathers me to Him,
I weep in my freedom,
and realize the One I sought,
was pursuing me.
For more information on Angela Castillo and her works you can check out her (newish) blog on writing here.