Closer to Paradise

Closer to Paradise, an e-book published, copyright and written by H. Stinington.

This dancing romance novel is the first volume in a proposed series that follows eighteen-year-old Isabella Anderson and two-year-older partner Daniel Prentiss as they attempt to make their way in the small and highly competitive field of professional dance. They are individually attractive, very talented, perform and look extremely well when performing as a couple. They have just won a title and wish to be selected as the lead couple to represent Daniel’s Canada in a contest to be held in the near future on the international level. Unfortunately her citizenship papers of transfer from the U. S. is taking time and adding just one more layer of tension to the huge number already facing persons entering this totally visible, tightly gathered group activity. And above all else, the couple find themselves stranded by airplane problems that the limited hotel arrangements available lead them to stray across the line of sexual intimacy. Regrettably, although they find they now are fully and joyously happy in all ways, such a relationship is a long-considered taboo in the group supposedly leading to disastrous results. Thus, any witnessed display of the relationship immediately will be noticed and open to discussion by this tightly knit bunch so inundated with interpersonal intrigue, innuendo, canards and hearsay. Some couples have successfully dealt with the situation but unfortunately apparently others have not. So, a state of affairs exists that sadly and somewhat amusingly perhaps best may be described by a Mark Twain quotation: “The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.” Regardless, facing this strong group-accepted belief, the young couple is forced to decide whether their careers or their happiness is most important. The remainder of the story recounts their attempts to decide and how best to deal with their decision when made.

Discussion: The dilematous matter is presented in a readable manner; similarly, sexual activity is nicely restrained; these young people exhibit remarkably maturity in their thought patterns; and generally the story presents a certain level of interesting credibility. In this viewer’s opinion, a little expansion of the inner operational aspects of this very visible and beautiful, but often somewhat small audience generating activity, would have offered a fascinating addition. However, the story as provided is one that should have great appeal to younger readers and most especially to devotees of the romance genre.

4* Delightful short tale especially for young romance devotees.


MORT in CHINA, Comic Series, Issue 1 by Vali T. C. Morrison (Author), Sun Xing (Translator), Charlie Tian (Author) and Skyla Bai (Editor)

The authors have initiated a series that has all of the indications of becoming a charmingly amusing, yet very informative string of stories. Admittedly the opening couple of pages provide some momentary initial questions with respect to the anticipated series, but the reaction quickly dissipates as Mort begins to develop. We discover him to be a mild mannered agent for Final Destination which is an ‘afterlife soul collection agency’ that unfortunately after 500 years of work, still is considered to be only ‘2nd best’. To rectify the situation, they decide to ‘shake things up a little’ and Mort’s boss sends him to root out and correct the efficiency issues in their China branch office. Upon arrival, he quickly realises that he is totally unqualified to deal with the nuances and pitfalls of Chinese culture and his personal nightmare begins.

The Mort in China project has been initiated by ALBA, a small indie-comic studio based in Beijing and is the brain child of Vali Morrison, a much travelled English/ American war veteran and Macedonian born Katerina Morrison, both of whom are fluent in Mandarin. For this reader who still enjoys the Sunday newspaper ‘Comics’, the proposed series offers not only an amusing cartoon possibility, but a huge number of possibilities for learning more about China as well. As such, it could well prove to be immensely informative at this crucial time in our country’s history with the growing intensity of our interrelationship with this country especially with respect to the Korean situation. It projects the possibility of a most interesting and worthwhile development as we learn more about this sprawling nation and its people in a laid back manner as we follow Mort’s adventures and misadventures as he attempts to adjust.

5* For anticipated series development.