• Skylar J Wynter


Hello, my lovelies. It's been a while. Quite the hiatus in fact, but the time has come for this little chrysalis to open up again and what better way than to shout the praises of the long-awaited novel, Hate Story, by Jeff Cottrill.

Now I know you are staring at your screen blankly and thinking, Hate Story? Never heard of it, let alone be gagging for its arrival, but trust me, one page in and you will be wishing it had landed on your bedside table months ago. Lucky for me and my insatiable appetite for Zoom travel, I have the privilege of knowing the author and when he asked me to have a read of a completed draft I had the common sense to factor his year of birth, star sign, wicked sense of humour, and straight-up incomparable knowledge of all things movies, into a nifty equation calculating the probability of becoming known as THE Beta Reader for THAT, Jeff Cottrill's best-selling novel, sooner than actually completing my own novel and said, 'Hell YES!'

(Truth be told he kinda had me twisted around his little finger when he first developed Skylar Standard Time to help me keep track of all the time zones I was Zooming in and out of on a daily basis, but let's leave him to think I was doing him a favour.)

Now, anyone who knows me, knows my favourite soapbox topic is the power humans treating humans decently, will have over conquering the evils of this world. And this has not changed in the months I have been off-grid. In fact, one of the reasons I went off-grid was to rest and regroup following a growing realisation humans are human and given the right context and circumstance, can be decidedly unpleasant, especially in the virtual world from behind the safety of screen and keyboard.

Let's be transparently honest here. I am no book reviewer. Hell, I haven't even pursued higher education - 12 years of being told what to think was quite enough thank you very much - but Jeff's book (see? a real reviewer would be calling him Cottrill) captures the brutal reality of being human in this modern world of social media and the implications it can have on the individual, with characters that are decidedly unlikeable, uncomfortable, snarky, irritating and downright awful (considered a major flaw of the novel by some big-name publisher, apparently (in the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, 'Big mistake. Huge.')) (Yes! I did just do brackets in brackets followed by more brackets for no other reason than to prove I am not qualified to be writing a review - and so, am not.) yet as a reader, I could not put the book down for precisely that reason. I literally had to read it start to finish without a break because I was so desperate to see if these individuals could be redeemed. (No! I am not telling you. Buy the book and read it for yourself.)

Don't be fooled by the title. Hate Story is full of its author's satirical genius so, amidst one's brain screaming, 'Oh my God, for reals?' 'Oh my God, this woman is horrendous' - (Lydia - Paul's mother - you gotta read it to believe how awful this woman is) - it is also cracking up and cheering on the snarky sarcasm of Jackie, a Troll Troller amongst other things, and feeling decidedly conflicted over whether Paul Shoreditch is a good guy or a creepy degenerate. My brain, which has distinct uncontrollable urges to shoot off on tangents and get thoroughly side-tracked, was held captive for the entirety of the MS which, to put it into perspective for those of you with brains that think in straight lines, is the equivalent of me being able to go on holiday. (Very decent of you Jeff, thank you.)

Personally, I have pretty much stopped buying books because I am sick of spending dollars on literature everyone is 'raving' about only to discover it is formulaic fiction ticking all the 'SAFE' boxes on the publishing house's tick list. Hate Story is as far from formulaic as I have read in many a long day and I loved it. Plain and simple. For me it had everything. Real characters. Real scenarios. Real repercussions. Real grit. Real satire. Real sarcasm and real twists and turns that kept me guessing to the very last page. Finally, a book that I didn't know the ending to, three pages in.

In conclusion, there is nothing about Hate Story to hate apart from the fact it does come to an end and my bedside table is bare. Here's hoping Cottrill is not so busy with pre-launch interviews and publicity mayhem to read this and begins immediately to pen novel number two.

19 March 2022 - Hate Story by Jeff Cottrill

PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE https://www.dragonflypublishing.com.au

A violent mob disrupts the East Toronto funeral service for unemployed loner Paul Shoreditch. The riot attracts sensational media attention, especially online, but is soon forgotten. Meanwhile, aspiring journalist, film fanatic and Internet addict, Jackie Roberts discovers a bizarre online community that has been sullying Paul’s name for years. What did Paul do to these people? Why is their animosity so intense? Why are they so secretive? As Jackie learns about Paul’s life story, she finds herself empathizing with him despite her gut feelings – but nothing prepares her for the truth.

If you would like to meet the author - trust me, you would like to meet the author - you can at the online launch Zoom launch on March 19: https://www.facebook.com/events/653111776124415

If you think this is the most hopeless 'not a review' you have ever read then you can get the real information here: Hate Story FB page: https://www.facebook.com/Hate-Story-a-novel-101921662249264 and/or here: http://jeffcottrill.com/hate-story/

As always, my beautiful humans remember you are not alone and being decent to yourself and all you meet will bring its rewards. A sentiment I think even Jackie comes to realise...........

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