Graham Downs

Monthly Newsletter :: November 2018

Hi there,

How busy have you been this month? It seems like November is when everybody remembers all those things that absolutely, positively have to be done before the end of the year. And you'd better get cracking, am I right?

I hope you had time in between all that pressure to get some reading done this month, and to get a head-start on your Christmas shopping, or before you know it, it'll be Christmas Eve, and you won't have bought a single thing.

Anyway, I got through three books this month: The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor, The Monster, And Other Stories by Stephen Crane, and finally Plaza by Shane M. Brown.

Financial Report: October 2018

I lost money again in October. Not a lot, but it was a loss.

On the plus side, I sold copies of both Heritage of Deceit and Tales From Virdura to the Gauteng e-library. They now almost have my entire catalogue available to borrow, which I'm extremely excited about.

Unfortunately, it wasn't quite enough to cover my expenses:

  • Income: R60.67
  • Expenses: R69.15
  • Loss: R8.48

Featured Author: Masha Du Toit

This month's featured author is Masha Du Toit, an artist and writer living in Cape Town, South Africa. She reads far too much, draws pictures that tell stories, and writes stories about every-day magic.

Masha has written three separate series in the realm of fantasy and science fiction: Linked Worlds (3 books), Crooked World (2 books), and The Sisters (2 books). She also wrote Strange Neighbours, which is a collection of ten illustrated fantasy short stories set in Cape Town, South Africa.

Book Launch

The third instalment of the Linked Worlds series, entitled The Strange, launched this month, and there's a party happening in Muizenberg this Thursday night! If you're in the area, here are the details:

29 November 2018 at Rolling Wood, 4 York Road, Muizenberg
- 6:30 for 7pm. If you want an early dinner we'll be serving a special "The Strange" veggie ravioli.
Book your plate The pasta is R100 per person.  

For more about all of Masha's books and where to find them, click here.

Blog Posts

Here are all the blog posts I wrote since my last newsletter. To read one in your browser, click its link:

Don't Forget About the Colouring Books

In case you've forgotten, my wife and I put together these beautiful colouring books. Still time to buy your kid one for Christmas?

I have stock, if you're in or around Johannesburg. They cost R80 each, and you're welcome to collect in either Alberton or Rivonia.

If you're nowhere near Johannesburg, don't fret. You can still get them in paperback format from online stores all over the world. Click the image below for all the details.

Featured Book: The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor

You know what makes a good mystery? When you're completely bowled over by the ending, but as you look back at all the clues the author sprinkled into the text up to that point, everything makes perfect sense.

That's what it's like in The First Time I Died. It's only the second of Jo Macgregor's mysteries that I've read (the first being Dark Whispers), but I'm beginning to see a pattern: you know the first person you suspect? The first one you're absolutely, 100% sure is the culprit? It's not them.

Maybe next time, Macgregor should throw us a curve ball by making the killer the first person we even begin to have an inkling about!

While I enjoyed the story, it isn't as good as Dark Whispers. It's not as dark, and the psychological aspects aren't as well defined. It's almost as if it's more... immature.

But probably makes sense, in a way. The first half of this book is written in alternating chapters of "Then" and "Now". "Then" being ten years ago, when our heroine was a teenager. Those chapters are written in a very YA style, because they're meant to appeal to young adults. The other chapters, when she is an adult, can't really be too "adulty", or the book would be confused about its target audience.

Still, this is a great mystery, with a smattering of paranormal activity as our amateur sleuth receives cryptic messages from beyond the veil. Definitely a treat for fans of the whodunit.

My Review: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

The first time I died, I didn’t come back alone.

When Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown for the holidays, she vows to solve the mystery of the murder which shattered her life ten years ago.

But then the unexpected happens — she dies in an accident and gets brought back to life by paramedics.

Now she’s hearing words, seeing visions and experiencing strange sensations. Are these merely symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and an over-active imagination, or is she getting messages from a paranormal presence?

Garnet has always prided herself on being logical and rational, but trying to catch a killer without embracing her shadow self is getting increasingly difficult. And dangerous, because in a town full of secrets, it seems like everybody has a motive for murder.

Fast-paced and riveting, The First Time I Died is a suspenseful and haunting crime story with an supernatural twist.

Great reading for fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware and Liane Moriarty.

Click here to find out where you can get your hands on a copy.

Thanks for reading this edition of my newsletter. I'll see you on Christmas Day! 

Yours in Reading,

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Graham Downs

South Africa