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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On the Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week.

Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday, is currently ‘on tour’ and being hosted by a different blogger each month.

Your host for November 2013, is Crystal @ ‘I Totally Paused!’

So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for Crystal or Bob, after all, we all like to receive them!

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

This week’s new title on my shelf, arrived after I was contacted directly by its author, requesting a review.

Novellas are not generally within my mainstream of reading, as I do enjoy a book with a distinctive beginning, middle and end and so few shorter books manage to achieve this for me.

When I checked out the synopsis for ‘Ramadan Sky’ however, I just had to have it!

The book, a debut novella, by author Nichola Hunter, has such a unique resonance and is so closely and personally linked to her experiences and observations, as to be just too good to miss!

Nichola has also put together an excellent guest post, straight from the heart, yet which will undoubtedly make for some uncomfortable thoughts and interesting conversation. I shall be publishing this within the next couple of weeks, so please stop by and join in the debate.

‘RAMADAN SKY’

A contemporary twist on a classic story of forbidden love, set in Jakarta, capital city of Indonesia.

When Vic accepts a teaching position in Jakarta, she has already been working and travelling in Asia for many years; she thinks she knows what to expect. However, before long she becomes troubled by the casual coexistence of vast wealth and woeful poverty, and by the stark differences in freedom and power between the men and the women. It also becomes apparent that there will be no support or companionship from her fellow Westerners and colleagues.

Fajar has lived in Jakarta all his life. He gets by, loaning money from friends and family, spending his nights racing, and his days working on the roads as an ojek driver. When he impresses a customer with his understanding of English, he sees an opportunity. He dedicates himself to being the woman’s driver – taking her to and from work, running her errands. He thinks he’s won big.

Neither Fajar nor Vic expect to find friendship and solace in their strange arrangement. But, before long, they will step outside the mores of their cultures together, crossing a boundary that will shake both of their lives.

AUTHOR – NICHOLA HUNTER

Image Of Author Nichola HunterGrowing up in suburban Australia and educated by humourless catholic nuns will get you prematurely itching to go anyplace else. As a child, Nichola remembers dreaming of running away–packing her small suitcase and keeping it ever-ready under the bed, but with the sad knowledge that there was nowhere to go and no way to get there, at least until she was old enough to drive.

She did read a lot of books though, about times past and future and distant places, and imagined being a host of other people when she was growing up. No wonder that she eventually travelled a lot, albeit around in circles sometimes.

Nichola spent her thirties and some of her forties living in Thailand, Vietnam, China and Indonesia, and will be permanently nostalgic for those places now that she is living back Western Australia, in a beautiful town surrounded by sapphire water and winds blowing in from all of the places as yet unseen. She loves the richness and the surprises that living in another country can bring, and the love and beauty of expression that is at the heart of all cultures.

Over the years Nichola has written short stories and poems and has done some freelance travel writing, but it always seems a requirement of editors that the western eye (and ‘I’) is essential to the story. When she decided to write her novella ‘Ramadan Sky’, set in Indonesia, therefore, she decided to write from three different perspectives as an experiment, so she used three narrators, only one of them a westerner. .

One thing that will always trouble Nichola—and is maybe a hangover lesson from those nuns of yore, is that the vast majority of the world’s population is unnecessarily poor. This informs her writing and her politics. She hopes for a day when this beautiful planet’s ample resources are shared and that everyone has access to that wonderful thing we call opportunity.

I can’t wait to discover all your own great new finds this week … so please stop by and share your link

 …

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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26 comments
  • The book does sound interesting. The new books I received this week were free books from a book website where I can download free books onto my Nook or Kindle. I have one pre-ordered by Sarah Jio “Morning Glory” the release date is Nov. 26, 2013. I can’t wait to receive it. I have always enjoyed Sarah’s books.

    • Hi Ann,

      I have recently discovered the delights of NetGalley, so I have been unleashed into the world of free books. At first I was like a child in a sweet shop, however I have given myself a severe talking to and now only download the books I absolutely know I want to read.

      I still value my author review requests above all else and ‘Ramadan Sky’ really was too good to turn down.

      I have just checked out your new to me author and love the sound of ‘Morning Glory’. I think I have yet another new addition to my list, so thanks for the recommendation.

      Thank you for stopping by, it seems like ages since we last spoke and I really do appreciate your comments. Have a good week

  • I’ve enjoyed novellas more and more as my reading tastes have matured, and they are so much more accessible these days via all the digital channels available.

    We have featured Ramadan Sky on Booklover Book Reviews too. Hope you enjoy it.

    • Hi Jo,

      I have only seriously read a couple of novellas or shorter stories, however I am seriously coming around to the idea of including them in my regular reading genres.

      Mind you, they do have to be of a high standard to leave me feeling fulfilled and as though I have read a story of substance … I need to have a clear opening, a substantial storyline and a definitive ending … not that I am fussy or anything!

      I stopped by and checked out the feature and review on your site. It was excellent and gave away just enough titbits of information to whet my appetite. I am so pleasd that I accepted this one for review.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good week.

    • Hi Sam,

      With Nichola being an Aussie author and Jo a fellow Aussie blogger, the word about ‘Ramadan Sky’ has probably got around by now.

      Jo has done an excellent feature and review and Nichola has written a pretty hard hitting guest post, which I shall be featuring in a week or so.

      The storyline was what first attracted me, as I don’t generally read novellas, plus the fact that Nichola sounds like such an interesting person.

      Thanks for stopping by, your comments are always appreciated.

    • Hi Pat,

      Nichola has definitely had some pretty interesting experiences in her life and she sounds so outgoing, that a meet the author talk by her would be sure to entertain and inform.

      ‘Ramadan Sky’ does indeed sound very interesting and I can just imagine that overstepping the mark as a ‘Westerner’ would still be very much frowned on Indonesia, whereas if the couple had met here in the UK, or indeed in the authors home country of Australia, no one would have even noticed, much less worried about it.

      Thanks for visiting today, I am always grateful for your comments and views.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I guess that what is considered to be crossing the boundaries in Indonesia, might not be so badly thought of here, in the Western World.

      Although it does very much depend on what time era the book is set in, as it does mention in the synopsis, that Vic’s Western contemporaries don’t support her actions or decisions and I can’t really see that being an issue in today’s society …. perhaps there is something else which isn’t mentioned in the synopsis?

      I am on my way over to check out your giveaway, thanks for mentioning it.

    • Hi Laura,

      I haven’t opened the download yet, so don’t really know what era the story is set in, as this is so going to influence outside reactions to the couples affair.

      Definitely looking forward to reading this one.

      Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate your visits and comments

    • Hi Linda,

      I have only recently even considered the possibility and value of reading short stories or novellas, although neither is something that I would read on a regular basis, or class as one of my favourite genres.

      I generally like a book to have a bit more substance to it, although if an author is talented enough to cram all of the same emotion and feeling into such a few short pages, then I can definitely see me reading a few more in the future.

      ‘Ramadan Sky’ is definitely a great introduction to Asian books, again a genre I haven’t tried before.

      Thanks for your comments and opinions, I always value and appreciate them.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      The story does indeed sound captivating and I need to find out if it shakes both their lives in a good or bad way, and if their relationship is anything more than a brief affair.

      So much to discover, in so few pages!

      Have a great week and enjoy all your new books.

    • Hi Lucy,

      The cover is quite understated, yet very alluring, isn’t it?

      The storyline is also alluring, yet very intriguing, leaving plenty of questions unanswered and drawing me into reading it, on a ‘must know what happens’ promise.

      Thanks for stopping by, I always value and appreciate comments.

      Enjoy your week.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      This will be my first foray into fiction which is set in an Asian country, so should be a very interesting experience and one which I am really looking forward to.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good week.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the kind thoughts. My current book is certainly shaping up into a great read, as to the rest of the week … I’m not so sure. The weather has taken a definite downward turn over the past couple of weeks, much chillier and with more rain and strong winds than enough.

      I guess when you get to November without needing to switch on the heating, it can’t be all bad!

      I hope that your week is shaping up well.

  • Ramadan Sky sounds like a good one and it seems the author has lived in some interesting places. It’s very true about the vast majority of the world’s people being unnecessarily poor.
    I can’t wait to read the guest post. Enjoy the novella Yvonne!

    • Hi Naida,

      I have read books set in many countries of the world, however Asian culture is not something I have yet discovered, so a novella will make a great introduction, especially as the story is one of mixed Western and Asian society, making the transition more gradual.

      Yes, I totally agree with both yourself and Nichola, that the vast majority of the World’s population are unnecessarily poor, however I do think that you have to look at the root cause of much of this misery and that lies much closer to home in many cases, with locally corrupt governments and officials.

      Many countries, India is a good example here, have wealth in abundance in some areas, yet it is deliberately kept from the lower classes, who are then forced to live in abject poverty. Other countries are sent aid in copious quantities, only for it to be sequestered by the military, thus never reaching its intended recipients.

      These countries don’t need our charity, or our cash, they need to instill a fair system within their country of origin, then many of the problems wouldn’t exist or be so acute. I know that short term some of the population may suffer, but this is surely the only answer to solve our out of control, overseas aid budgets.

      Rant over, but I do feel strongly about the subject, as does Nichola in her guest post, which is sure to be controversial, so I shall light the blue touch paper and stand well back!!

      Have a good week and I hope that you are well.

  • I hope you don’t mind me hopping in here Yvonne, but I got a surprise when I saw this comment about corruption. I completely agree that this is at the heart of much of the world’s poverty. In fact I refer to corruption and poverty as ‘twin brothers’ in Ramadan Sky.

    • Hi Nichola,

      It would appear that our views on poverty and corruption, are not too disparate, so I have a good feeling about ‘Ramadan Sky’ before I even get to read the first page.

      Feel free to jump in and reply to comments as often as you would like. It is so seldom that authors want to speak out publicly, or respond to individual comments, that your openness is a refreshing change.

Written by Yvonne

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