50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Thursday Book Reviews

Paper in the Wind by Olivia Mason-Charles


Fiction, Autism
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 19, 2015
Pages: 45
Format: ePub
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About the Book

Paper in the Wind is a compassionate and riveting story depicting a single father’s dedication to his daughter. In the midst of the overwhelming struggles that accompanied autism, he continues to persevere. Her father’s love enabled her to overcome insurmountable obstacles, discovered the power of love and embraced the gift of life.

My Rating

3 stars


I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I like to accept and choose books that sometimes is outside of my normal reading interests. Sometimes this is a hit and a miss.

I know a little about autism as one of my close friends is autistic. So at the very basic core of this story, I understood the struggle that the father had, throughout his and his daughter’s life.

However, I found that this style of writing to be too simplistic. The story is told through the eyes of the Father and while some of the story does tug at the heart, it lacked the connection and character building that was necessary. Therefore, for me, the story was very one sided and one dimensional.

My other issue was the lack of coping skills the father had. While I know that a lot of parents are often alone while raising their children with autism, but in the short story, alcohol use was prominent. Some of it was used celebratory but often it was a coping mechanism. As someone who runs mental health groups, using alcohol as a coping mechanism is not healthy at all. It would have been good to see the Father receive some help himself. I know that in a care giver situation, it is important they focus on themselves too.

Anyhow, this is only my opinion. Please don’t take what I’ve had to say and judge the story based on my opinion. I do recommend this story for parents who are struggling with raising their autistic children. I hope that this is a beacon of hope for them.

Where to Buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US

About the Author


Via Good Reads

Olivia Mason-Charles is the author of Paper in the Wind, a compelling and heartwarming story of hope in the midst of insurmountable obstacles.   She lives with her husband and daughter in beautiful South Florida.  Her daughter was diagnosed with autism 17 years ago.  Writing gave her the opportunity to express her admiration for her daughter and  capture the overwhelming struggles that accompanied autism.

Connect with Olivia

Amazon | Twitter | GoodReads



Featured Author · Featured Author Wednesday

Spotlight Interview with author V.S. Kemanis

Wednesday Spotlight

Short stories, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Opus Nine Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Pages: 304
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About the Book

Loves big and small, crimes forgiven or avenged. These are the themes that drive the eleven diverse stories in this new collection of psychological suspense from storyteller V.S. Kemanis.

Meet the husband and wife team Rosemary and Reuben, master chefs known to sprinkle a dash of magic into every dish. Lucille Steadman, a dazed retiree who can’t explain why she’s left her husband, only to discover, too late, the meaning of love and commitment in the most surprising place. Franklin DeWitt, an esteemed ballet critic who witnesses—or abets?—a bizarre criminal plot to topple a beautiful Soviet ballerina. Rosalyn Bleinstorter, a washed-up defense attorney whose stubborn belief in her own street savvy leads her unwittingly into a romantic and criminal association with an underworld figure.

These are just a few of the colorful characters you’ll get to know in these pages, where all is fair in love and crime. While the endings to these tales are not always sweet or predictable, and self-deception is rarely rewarded, the lessons come down hard and are well learned.

Where to Buy

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Smashwords


Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in California, went to law school in Colorado, and now make my home in New York. My years of experience in criminal law inspired my legal mystery novels featuring prosecutor Dana Hargrove (Thursday’s List, Homicide Chart, and Forsaken Oath). I also love to write short stories, and Love and Crime includes my latest work. Another passion is dance—I’ve taught, performed, and choreographed contemporary styles and ballet.

What inspired you to write?
I have an active imagination in need of outlet! This is much better than TV.

What inspired your novel?
Love and Crime is a collection of short fiction, each story inspired by a different idea or event. For example, the opening story, “Rosemary and Reuben,” features characters who are challenged emotionally and physically by their heightened senses of smell and taste. The story was inspired by the fact that I’m extremely sensitive to smell.

What is the genre?
Literary short stories of psychological suspense.

What draws you to this genre?
Writing the short form is very satisfying for me because it fits a busy schedule. A complete work can be written quickly. I love language, and every word counts. It’s also a challenge to see how much depth of meaning and emotion can be conveyed in a short work.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
The stories come to me as small ideas that hang around for weeks, months, or years, either at the back of my mind or on a scrap of paper. They develop gradually, as other events in my life add to the idea over time. At some point, I wake up and say, “I’m ready to write this one!”

What inspired your protagonist?
These eleven short stories feature many protagonists from different walks of life. I’m fascinated by situations involving self-deception or disillusionment. Each protagonist faces a unique challenge of this kind, developing to the point of crisis or leading to revelation and change.

What inspired your antagonist?
My antagonists are people or emotions or doubts that challenge the protagonist to act or change. I’m a big fan of ethical dilemma!

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest part, always, is the beginning. I tend to write and rewrite the opening lines of every story or novel many times.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
For every story, the end. I become completely immersed. It’s exciting to reach a resolution or a lesson or a change in the character, and sometimes, the characters lead me to places I hadn’t anticipated.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
Part time for now. I work for an appellate court, where I’m a supervising editor.

What are you currently reading?
To the Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey, and Glory over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
In legal thrillers, Adam Mitzner. In literary fiction, Ian McEwan.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
Homestead, by Rosina Lippi; Atonement, by Ian McEwan; The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey; Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett; and Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler

What are your future projects, if any?
I’m currently working on the fourth novel in the Dana Hargrove legal mystery series.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I can always be reached through the contact page on my website, www.vskemanis.com

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
If you love to write, persevere. Your craft will steadily improve. Take heed of Ernest Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory” (sometimes less is more):

“If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.”

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Saturday Reviews

Vacui Magia: Stories by L.S. Johnson

Saturday Review

Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Short Stories
Publisher: Traversing Z Press
Date of Release: March 1, 2016
Pages: 220 pages
Format: ePub format
Links: Good Reads


4.75 Stars

4 Stars


L.S. Johnson delivers a provocative and original short story collection that ingeniously blends myth and nightmare. Whether it concerns the efforts of an infertile witch to construct a golem-baby, or a daughter’s quest to understand a father’s guilt and a mother’s supernatural infidelities, or a woman’s violent association with a group of possibly imaginary but nonetheless dangerous little men, each story in this remarkable collection demonstrates the limitless capacity of intelligent speculative fiction to enthrall, inspire, and amaze.


I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Vacui Magia is a novel filled with dark fantasy, science fiction and horror short stories. They’re not meant to just terrify but to shock you, make you think and intrigue you.

These stories had awesome world building. The separate stories were either contemporary settings or historical settings. Each of story was entirely unique and neither one crossed over into each other. The characters were complex and interesting.

While none of these stories had gratuitous gore that many people relate to horror movies and stories, it still had that horror element. Horror can be more than just disgust, it is shock and fear as well. Some of these stories were definitely shocking.

Little Men with Knives featured a cafeteria lady who was unhappy in her life setting. She listened to her neighbours fight at night and fed these gnome like creatures. By day, it dragged on. She learned the gnomes would help her around the house if she fed them right. Eventually she learned they could do more than clean a house.
For me, this definitely hit the nail on the head for the concept of the fey folk Brownies or Hobs. If you feed them clotted cream and other goodies, they will help out around the house. Ignore them and they create mischief.

The titled story Vacui Magia plays heavily with magic. A lonely woman who wishes she had had children. She consults her grimoire and makes the decision to do forbidden magic and create herself a golem. This is a unique point of view as it is in the second-person voice. Rare to see.
I found this fascinating, especially the quote where a witch should know her heart as intimately as her hands or face. It definitely touches in that idea that the study of magic is a whole being idea. This was one of my favourite tales from the book.

The Pursuit of the Whole is Called Love is about gender switching aliens who explore the human nature of sex, marriage, and oneself.
For me, this was a bit too weird. I honestly couldn’t get into it. However, I wouldn’t say that this was a bad story. It just didn’t mesh as well for me.

Germinant is about a young girl who disobeys her mother and ends up suffering the consequences of her disobedience. It’s a rather surreal way of seeing oneself suffering consequences. This one was also a little too strange for me. I didn’t really understand it or understand the time frame the story was placed in.

Vendemiare had to be my all time favourite. It had a lot of a Twilight Zone-esque feeling to it. The story involves a dying village and vineyard, cursed by the wife of the vineyard owner. It also involves a half-breed demon child and the dreamy yet horrifying state that the child and the voice of the story’s mother. I absolutely adored the concept and the story was well written. You felt like you were there along with Arianne as she tries to rescue her half sibling.

This is How You Lose Yourself is the shortest story. It’s almost more of a poem. It definitely dances with the darker side of these stories.

Clotho sits more in the mythological side of this story. Many may not know but Clotho is the youngest of the Three Fates who are responsible for spinning the threads of fate. This tale speaks of the progression the sister’s go through, but in a different lighting.
This was another of my favourite stories. I’m especially interested in mythological tales.

Julie spoke of a woman who was turned to prostitution by her aunt and her lover. A sad tale, for the times. She is the muse for a writer (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)  and listens to everyone praise him while she struggles to say that he stole her life story. She exacts revenge on him eventually and pays the ultimate price for it.

So this anthology of short stories had some great tales and some weird tales; but what I dislike doesn’t necessarily mean anyone else won’t like it. I especially enjoyed that all the protagonists were female, with the exception of the story involving the aliens.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good Weird Fiction tale.


Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Kobo | Gumroad | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


L.S. Johnson lives in Northern California. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Long Hidden, Fae, Lackington’s, Strange Tales V, and other venues. Currently she’s working on a fantasy trilogy set in 18th century Europe.




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