#shortstory #minireview #free Checkout Girl by Aimee Alexander @aimeealexbooks

checkout

Please note that the cover image leads to a sign up link for the story

Link for Amazon for audio version: buy here

What they say:

When an 83-year-old woman dies, she is not transported straight to heaven. She is taken on an unexpected detour back to her life shortly before she died. Only this time, she is seeing the world from a different point of view. This is the first time she has ever experienced a detour being the best part of a journey.

Checkout Girl was published as part of the short story compilation Moments in aid of the tsunami. It was also part of a short story collection published in Germany.

Aimee Alexander is the pen name of best-selling Irish author Denise Deegan.

The Review:

“Christmas Eve 1989. Eighty-three years of life end in one split second. I feel no pain, jiust shick. My last thoughts are not profound: He broke the lights! I had the green man. My life does not flash in front of me. Someone else’s does. Someone I don’t even know. A checkout girl at the supermarket I was in, a little earlier.”

What a gem of a story. It’s so short that all I can tell you is that the lady in question oversees the checkout girl aka ‘Debbie’s’ life, showing us the hardship of a person who, in our protagonist’s own life, has just done a good deed and has suffered for it. There’s loveliness, wistfullness, magic, some life lessons and a nice little kick at the end. You’ll remember I gushed over The Prince and The Pea short story here  and All We Have Lost here (both same author, Denise Deegan writes as Aimee Alexander!) and adored them both and this is right up there with them. It is beautiful, wonderous, entertaining and, well, just excellent really. And it’s free so really, off you go. Go get and honestly enjoy it, I hope you fall in love with it as much as I did! 🙂

Rating: 5/5

Short Story: The Prince and The Pea by Denise Deegan

You’ll remember I raved about All The Things We Have Lost by Aimee Alexander (see review here), the pen name of Denise Deegan, who I had seen and been inspired by at the Wexford Literary festival, and who is lauded all over the place for her writing which traverses multiple genres (hence the pen name I would guess!) As a result when I was asked to review this I was thrilled. What had grabbed me on listening to Ms. Deegan speak, was her ability to tell a good story, and I knew a fairy tale from her would be exquisite.

prince and the pea

Length:  26 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

As heir to the throne, Prince Richard is expected to marry well, and his parents are adamant that only the finest princess will do. But is royal blood really more important than the spark of true love?

His father, the king, has devised his own test of true royalty, inviting the haughtiest heiress for miles around to spend a night at the castle, balanced atop a pile of mattresses concealing a single pea. But even though she passes the test, she is too outraged by sleep deprivation to stay beyond breakfast. Meanwhile Richard can’t stop thinking about Rosie O’Toole, the charming chambermaid who has taught him how to lay a fire and find true meaning in his life…

When Rosie is unfairly dismissed and disappears without a trace, Richard is determined to find her. He must bring her back to the castle and reinstate her at once. But as he grows more desperate, Richard realises that he is no longer searching for a chambermaid, but for his one true love.

 

The Review:

To start with, don’t you love when the dedication alone makes you sit back and smile?:

“Once upon a time, there were two little girls who forced people to watch their ‘plays’. This story is written by one of those little girls for the other. To Ail, with love and chewing gum.”

And I quickly settled into this lovely Kindle short, where Prince Richard isn’t too keen on the process of being set up with a princess. His father, the King, has to be sure that any princess is truly that, and so he organises for mattresses to be set up with a pea underneath, stating, as we know, that if she is truly a princess she will feel the pea under the cushioning of the mattresses. This short shone with vibrant sparks of comedy, as the King and Richard worried that the princess might fall from the stack of mattresses set up to hide the pea. The comedy was also apparent as we met Princess Victoria, a demanding so-and-so that made me giggle with her disdain and complaining. In the midst of this we were introduced to the lovely chambermaid, Rosie, who not only showed us how lovely she was, but made us thoroughly fall in love with Prince Richard, who saw her as someone who could teach him a lesson or two.

And so as well as excellent comedy, beautiful romance and engaging characters, I was thrilled to be faced with a man (woman) hunt, with the heat on Richard as he and his staff scoured the kingdom for his wife to be. I loved everything about this short, and I have to say, for the price (less than a magazine-£1), it’s well worth it, in particular I’d imagine devouring this with a hot drink or a bar of chocolate on a commute, or after a hard day’s work  in front of a fire. Or anywhere really! A perfect, nicely different autumnal read to make you smile, giggle and swoon. Very satisfying.

Thanks so much to Ms. Deegan and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

About the author

denisedeegan

Denise Deegan lives in Dublin with her family where she regularly dreams of sunshine, a life without cooking and her novels being made into movies.

Denise has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was being a checkout girl, although ultimately this experience did inspire a short story…

Denise writes for both adults and teenagers. Her novels have been published by Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing. Writing under the pen name Aimee Alexander, Denise’s contemporary family dramas have become international best-sellers on Kindle.

Denise’s most recent novel,  Through the Barricades, won the SCBWI Spark Award 2017.

Her writing for Young Adults includes the much-loved contemporary trilogy, The Butterfly Novels: And By The Way, And For Your Information and And Actually.

Denise writes women’s fiction as Aimee Alexander including Pause to RewindThe Accidental Life of Greg Millar and All We Have Lost.

Denise is represented by the East West Literary Agency and Barry Krost Management. She is a member of the SCBWI.

Denise currently lives in Dublin with her family and golden retriever, Homer, star of the Butterfly Novels.

Denise is available for school visits. See here for more information.

Follow Denise on Twitter @denisedeegan or email denise at denise(at)denisedeegan.com

(Taken from her website: denisedeegan.com )

Her books On Amazon: here

Aimee Alexander on Amazon: here

All We Have Lost by Aimee Alexander

allwehavelost

 

Length: 276 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal amazon link for the book

What they say:

From the bestselling author of Pause to Rewind and The Accidental Life of Greg Millar comes this ‘stunning tale of modern marriage.’

Kim Waters seems to have it all: her own PR agency, a loving husband and two adorable children. Then Kim announces that she’s fed up plugging Flush toilet cleaner and writing sparkling press releases for mediocre products; she wants to write ‘the great novel’ and spend more time with her young family. She folds her business and settles down to a life of cosy domesticity.

If only it were that easy. The ‘great novel’ is, in fact, a great struggle. Life as a domestic goddess has (many) hidden challenges. And her relationship with her husband is rapidly losing its equilibrium.

As the perfect life Kim has built for herself starts to crumble comes the revelation that will make her doubt everything she had taken for granted…

The Review: I saw Aimee Alexander aka Denise Deegan, speaking at a literary festival some years ago, and I knew from her covers which were dark, her extract, which was a rom com, and the way she spoke about writing, that she was one to read straight away. Of course I didn’t. Instead I went to Amazon, bought two of her books, constantly reminding myself I had to read her, with this hitting fever pitch as I watched everyone around rave over The Accidental Life Of Greg Millar … And again I didn’t get to her. Until Christmas time, and boy am I relived I did!

So the book begins with the lead arriving home to a darkened house after she’s missed her children’s bedtime again. The narrative, that of the first person, present tense variety, was perfect. We see Kim, the working mum who feels guilty all the time, who has done this one too many times and decides to give up life as she knows it to become a stay at home mum and a writer (yes!). This resulted in some very funny book issues, which I couldn’t get enough of (I loved how the protagonist had to come to terms with a best friend who had a book deal based off her notoriety while she was starting from the absolute beginning). My only issue actually was that the writer in me would have loved to see more of this.

This book struck so many chords with me. The feelings, the change of dynamic in the house, sometimes possibly perceived as opposed to actual, and the difference in relationship between Ian and Kim, who were such a great pairing. There were times in this book that I took it upon myself to be mad for Kim as household tasks were now handed over to her, but with no please or thank you (would you know that I perhaps see some of our home situation here, lol?) as decisions they made jointly were suddenly solely the duty of the earner of the house (no fingers, stop typing, you are NOT going to do this!) There was an excellent portrayal of the mixed emotions that come with going from a career to staying at home with children, with the feelings of being content and happy to be with the kids sometimes being usurped by loneliness, an itch to do more, a niggling feeling that you’ve lost your place in terms of value in the world, as well as your rights in the household.

The pacing was excellent, with twists and turns, cliches that turned out not to be and side issues and back issues that I won’t go into as I don’t want to spoil it. I’ll tell you that this is what I would catalogue as a slightly darker form of ‘mom lit,’ and it’s one I’ll be recommending all around me. I really enjoyed this and will most definitely be reading Aimee Alexander’s books (see her catalogue here), again.

Rating: 4.5/5

“Mammy, we’ve found you some ‘free’ books”

Okay. So. A while ago I tweeted that I had got an email from Amazon stating my Kindle Unlimited membership had started, thanking me and telling me that I was going to be able to enjoy countless great titles that would go straight to my Kindle. Great. Sorry, actually, what was that now?

A little detective work later culminated in my six year old and eight year old jumping around the room and telling me that they had ‘robbed Daddy’s laptop’ and ‘found a way to get me free books’ and I pretty much had an idea what had happened. Cue freak outs on the fact that our kids knew how to get past passwords and into Amazon and then a deep breath and an ‘I have to go email and get them to cancel it’ from me. But this didn’t happen. Why? Because I was left alone with the laptop that I use for writing and blogging. There was no way in hell I was going to email someone when I could get a blog post out.

Weeks on and the €8.99 has now come out of our account. So I took this as an opportunity to go online and star reading  up on Kindle Unlimited (KU). The FAQs told me it was easy to cancel and that I could use the service to take out ten books of an arsenal of up to one million titles (swoon) until the next billing date, when, obviously, if I’ve cancelled, the book disappears. So I said, well, if I’ve been billed I may as well get my money’s worth. I logged on and my first idea was to look up all those books, usually from what I call the headliner publishers, that on Kindle would cost that bit more than I’m willing to spend, would have a waiting list attached at our local library and would have prices in the bookshop are borderline crackers (sorry, but a quarter of a hundred euro for a book that’ll be read just once doesn’t sit great with me). The problem, obviously, is that all of these titles are more likely to be multiple platforms, and not exclusive to Amazon, which is what is required for a book to be eligible for KU, but, then I had a light bulb moment, went to my wish list on Amazon and began to work my way through the list to see which were on KU. As a result I grabbed the following books that I’ve been meaning to read for ever and now, with a time limit on me I have the perfect excuse!

 

I’m going to leave it at four, as I’ve some review copies to read, and, well, you know, a pretty full Kindle. As for my membership? I will be cancelling … although maybe not this month … Ahem. Anyhoo, I’ll keep you posted. Happy reading all!:)