Dustin Reviews: The Leaving by Gabriella West

The Leaving by Gabriella WestAt 15, Cathy Quinn is an intelligent misfit living in 1980s Dublin. As the book opens she discovers that her charming older brother Stevie, who’s gay, is falling in love with the one boy in school whom she likes. Over her last two years of school, Cathy struggles with her repressed, unhappy family, coming to terms with her powerful attraction to her best friend Jeanette, and leaving Ireland. “The Leaving” is a realistic yet lyrical look at adolescence and first love.

Above all, the novel offers a wry, raw look at growing up in the conservative, recession-plagued Dublin of the 1980s, when homosexuality was still taboo, and being different was not tolerated.

The Leaving was an interesting read, however, I had mixed feelings about it. There were a number of POV issues that caused me to have to backtrack to more clearly understand the points of views. At times it seemed Cathy was somewhat repetitive and maybe the manuscript could have been trimmed down. It’s not an “epic” tale, more like a slice of “in the life of Cathy”.Still, I wouldn’t dismiss The Leaving, I’m sure there are many folks who would find this story charming and enjoyable.

About the author

Gabriella WestGabriella West was born in Santa Barbara, CA in 1967. In 1969, her parents moved to Ireland, and she grew up there, studying English Literature and Italian at Trinity College, Dublin.

She earned an MA degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University in 1995.

She’s published two well-reviewed novels. “Time of Grace” (Wolfhound Press, 2002), the story of a passionate love affair between a young English governess and a maid, is set in Ireland against the backdrop of the 1916 Easter Rising. “The Leaving” (2011) is a semi-autobiographical look at a rebellious adolescent girl coming of age in Dublin in the mid-1980s.

She often reviews indie/small press books on her blog, http://gabriellawest.net. Her day job is proofreading and editing. (http://editforindies.com)

The Leaving is available at: Amazon


Print Length: 232 pages
Publication Date: Shaggy Dog Publications (July 7, 2011)
Language: English
Published May 30th 2011 by Smashwords

4 out of 5 stars


Dustin Reviews: The Twenty Dollar Bill by Elmore Hammes

6723195Follow the path of a twenty dollar bill as it is stolen, given, spent or otherwise passed from person to person, traveling from place to place. No bombastic explosions, steamy sex scenes, political intrigue or cosmic encounters. Just slices of life from the people you walk by every day – glimpses into how ordinary people interact, how they think, how they feel and how they love. A contemporary novel exploring every day interactions and relationships.

The Twenty Dollar Bill was an extraordinarily engrossing fast read. The novel is written in mini-vignettes each are a brief description of the individual who currently posses the twenty dollar bill. I started reading and I didn’t want to put the story down. Each mini-tale is unique and as interesting as the one before. I found myself reacting emotionally to the mini-stories from anger, sympathy and once (or twice), on the verge of tears.

About the author

Elmore Hammes has published several novels, including The Holmes & Watson Mysterious Events and Objects Consortium: The Case of the Witch’s Talisman (middle grade mystery/fantasy), The Twenty Dollar Bill (contemporary fiction) and The Cloud (science fiction). His short stories have recently appeared in The First Line and Espresso Fiction.

The Twenty Dollar Bill is available at: Amazon


Print Length: 180 pages
Publication Date: November 22nd 2007 by Kanapolis Fog Publishing Emporium
Language: English
ISBN: 061514716X

4 out of 5 stars