Book Review: Always Never, Rarely Sometimes by Alexander Raphael @elraphael @rararesources


An aspiring magician who gets a sinister pleasure playing all kinds of tricks on those around him. Two strangers running into each after 20 years and wondering what they’ve missed. A long-suffering
husband who decides it’s time he started making big decisions. An unhappy child at Christmas struggling to deal with his new surroundings before a wonderfully surprising encounter. All this and more within the seven stories of Always Never, Rarely Sometimes, where a wide range of characters are forced to challenge long-held beliefs and powerful memories, accompanied by a sprinkling of
magic. Always Never, Rarely Sometimes is the third book from Alexander Raphael, following on from his short story The Summer of Madness and his set of conceptual short stories Illusions, Delusions.

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My Review

This was a very interesting book of short stories. There are 7 short stories in total all very different to each other.

In The Prankster, Jimmy likes to play pranks on other people. Are they just pranks or cruel actions of someone trying to get a reaction out of others but ultimately the biggest prank is played on Jimmy himself. Lies and Secrets follows two people who dated but actually knew very little about each other. Lucky/Unlucky follows a second born twin and the issues he faces with his name. Could changing his name change his luck? The ending of this story was one I loved. There, Unthere follows Stefan who is drinking at a bar when he meets a mysterious old woman who seems to know a lot about him. This story definitely gives new meaning to the word karma. In The Beautiful Girl a lady in a coffee shop watches a group of men try to impress a young lady. Motive, Murder, Method follows a couple at the end of their marriage that ends in murder. This was fascinating reading. The final story The Magic of Christmas is a heartwarming story of a young boy who comes to Santa’s rescue. I loved this story and it definitely made me wish it was Christmas already.

This was definitely a book I thoroughly enjoyed. The stories were easy to read and did make me think about the stories, the characters and themes after I’d finished reading them.

I’d recommend this to anyone who likes to read short stories!

Author Bio

Half-Welsh, half-Mexican and growing up in London, Alex Raphael was surrounded by
different influences and interests. But it was always books that spoke to him most and had the greatest impact.

He started writing when at college, where his love of reading evolved into a desire to write, in particular focusing on poetry and short stories. Studying English and American Literature at university meant he took a break from writing, as well as giving him the chance to see more of Mexico on his travels. He concentrated on his journalistic career while working on different writing
projects, but his favourite genre of literature has always been short stories as they are what first inspired him to write.

That’s why his first book was The Summer of Madness, a romantic short story that tells of a guy who goes out to try to win his ex-girlfriend back. Will you be rooting for Kurt and his big public gesture or is it more complicated than that and you don’t want her to date him again? Either way you’ll get to know a memorable set of characters along for the ride.

His second book Illusions, Delusions reflects Raphael’s love of alternative short stories from the writers of his childhood and challenges the idea of the narrative. Will your favourite be the story in the form of a questionnaire, a poem or a set of jokes, among the seven very different styles?

Alexander Raphael’s latest offering is Always Never, Rarely Sometimes, featuring original premises and distinctive characters with his trademark imagination, humour and memorable dialogue. Among others, meet a sinister magician with an array of pranks, a long-suffering husband finally becoming
more decisive and a group of young guys intrigued by a pretty woman on another table.

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