If you're looking for a travel book–this ain't it. It's more than that. Yes, there is some travel, and there are some really nice photos, too. But GoinIf you're looking for a travel book–this ain't it. It's more than that. Yes, there is some travel, and there are some really nice photos, too. But Going Gypsy is mainly a book about growing up. It's about children growing up into responsible adults, and about parents growing into a kind of freedom they never thought they would have. Giving up a life that most of us would call *normal* David and Veronica embark on a road trip that takes them first across all over America and eventually all over the world. They give up the security of the well-known to face adventures most of us will always dream about, but never have the guts to follow. Four stars out of five because–for me–it's too short a book...more
Oh, I'm loving this book! A wonderful space opera with credible "aliens" and amazing world creating. After a long time, at last a new, great SciFi serOh, I'm loving this book! A wonderful space opera with credible "aliens" and amazing world creating. After a long time, at last a new, great SciFi series! ...more
To be honest, I read this book to do an author friend a favor. Sheila was unsure about Ourselves, and I offered to read and give her honest feedback…To be honest, I read this book to do an author friend a favor. Sheila was unsure about Ourselves, and I offered to read and give her honest feedback… thing is, I never had to come up with something nicely positive to boost her morale. All I can say is, move over, Anne Rice, get off the throne, Charlaine Harris, the new queen of vampire novels has been born!
Enough said. Now go and read this book. And join me in hoping this is only the start of a great series. ...more
If I ever get old I want to be friends with Leslie and Belinda. I’d move into dear Abner’s empty unit and get those two biddies to make meWhat a romp!
If I ever get old I want to be friends with Leslie and Belinda. I’d move into dear Abner’s empty unit and get those two biddies to make me pie every weekend. In return, I’d go on adventures with them, and I swear, I’d be gutsier than Belinda and hold the flashlight so Leslie could do her investigating.
Linda Browning’s novella Daredevil lives up to the expectations raised by her short story “No Wake,” first published in Buddhapuss Ink's mystery anthology Mystery Times 2013. Her heroines, the feisty Leslie and her partner-in-crime, the tall but timid Belinda, set forth to find out what happened to a missing girl who vanished shortly after her step-grandmother’s funeral. I won’t tell you what they discover or how they go about it because I don’t want to spoil the fun for you. But I will tell you this: you won’t get to the solution before you’ve gone calling at the bereaved family’s house with pie in hand—like a good Southern belle, have a friendly Lab slobber your face, make friends with an TBI agent, and have had to hide in a coffin showroom.
This is a sweet little book to be enjoyed over a cup of tea and a piece of pecan pie…make that sweet iced tea tinkling in a tall glass.
Linda Browning has a a voice that is distinct, and fun to read. It lends itself well to the near-slapstick situations that Belinda and Leslie get into. This is cozy mystery at its best!...more
"A note rolled up inside a note, left in the fence:
Some truths are kept hidden in the basement of our souls. We should never stop trying to find them"A note rolled up inside a note, left in the fence:
Some truths are kept hidden in the basement of our souls. We should never stop trying to find them."
Spillworthy by Johanna Harness has left me baffled, surprised, speechless, and with the deep wish that all schools all over the world put this middle-grade novel in their libraries, and not only one copy, but fifty. Or maybe one-hundred. Or maybe enough copies so every child can take it home and then "release" it into the world so it becomes a real Spillworthy, a piece of writing set free into the world. I just know that kids will devour this book, and maybe not only kids. When I began reading I had a text marker in my hand to highlight notable passages, only I gave up a few pages into the book. Every page is noteworthy, full of observations, insight, philosophy. This: "Maybe we're all supposed to be making music together whether it feels like we belong together or not. Maybe it's not enough to live your own lives with quiet respect for others. Maybe we're supposed to be reaching and connecting – even when it seems like there's no way that's possible."
This novel reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird; the kids are of about the same age, and sometimes the tone is similar. Then again, it's something completely different, something not attempted before, both in style and form.
Buy this book. Read it. Share it. It's a wonderful book!...more
Normally, I don’t like reading memoirs. They seem full of self-pity, half-lies, and extenuation. People who write memoirs want to make money by tellinNormally, I don’t like reading memoirs. They seem full of self-pity, half-lies, and extenuation. People who write memoirs want to make money by telling their–more or less–exciting life story. I've never understood the concept of writing a memoir. Why would anyone want to read someone else’s life story, unless that someone is Henry Kissinger or Kofi Annan? What could there be in a normal person’s life that would make it so interesting that someone else would want to buy and read it? Why would I read how a stranger travels to London, visits a dying mother-in-law, or tries to save a feral cat? What is the allure?
Here’s the thing: Faye has written a memoir, and it’s about all those things: traveling to Europe, dealing with uterine cancer too early in life, watching her mother-in-law die, and yes, talking to a blue jay in the middle of a downpour on a lonely road. She writes about growing up and feeling ugly (don’t we all!), and about herself as a young woman, trying to find herself in a world full of turmoil and imponderables. What sets Faye’s memoir apart though is that she looks beyond what meets the eye, is apparent, and finds meaning. She is not afraid to learn from what she encounters. Every essay in this collection tells a small story, but each is also a lesson that Faye learned, and shares with us. That blue jay on the road? It teaches acceptance. We don’t have control. We don’t control our deaths, we don’t control much in our lives. We need to accept them as they come. Life isn’t about control; it’s about letting go, about gracefully and patiently accepting what comes our way.
Faye Rapoport DesPres is an excellent writer. In fact, she’s one of the best writers I’ve read. Her style is poetic, lyrical, observant, and lush, but never excessive, never florid. Her sentences have a lovely cadence, a natural flow, that make them dance easily through the reader’s mind.
A memoir? Yes, Message from a Blue Jay is a memoir. A memoir I thoroughly enjoyed....more
You all know I'm normally not into erotica, and even less bondage, but this little novella is so well written that I think you should give it a try. ItYou all know I'm normally not into erotica, and even less bondage, but this little novella is so well written that I think you should give it a try. It's what Fifty Shades wanted to be. Pireel's heroine Amelia is what that insipid kid Ana wished she was, and her hero, Raphael, is a million times sexier than that dolt Christian Grey. So if you enjoy reading a tickling, hot, sexy story, go for this one!...more
You know how you start reading a book, at first you’re real slow, well-mannered and paced, and you remember to stop readDamocles - A Study in Humanity
You know how you start reading a book, at first you’re real slow, well-mannered and paced, and you remember to stop reading in time to make lunch or dinner, or go to bed? And then you get drawn in, and forget everything else, even making dinner for the family? Well, that. I missed my favorite TV show (CSI:Vegas) to finish Damocles, and when I did, my first thought was, “Oh no! Is she planning a sequel? I want a sequel! We never found out what that meant, with the kraken, and those Sea Gods! I want to know!”
Sheila Redling has written a compelling, gripping novel. In a way, it reminds me of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, which I also loved very much, but Sheila’s book is more human.
Damocles is the name of the spaceship that takes a small group of people to explore a far-off planet after receiving a message from The Set, who claim to have seeded Earth with life. The human explorers find an alien culture, and make first contact.
The thing I really like about this novel is the emphasis on language. There are no weapons, no intrigue, no violence. There are only two cultures trying to communicate, and get concepts, values, and ideas across to one another. How do you explain night to someone who has never seen darkness? How do you make someone from a world that never sleeps, understand that humans need sleep? And how do you express that you trust someone when you don’t speak the same language?
Just like Russell’s The Sparrow, Damocles is about finding similarities and accepting differences, about making friends despite those differences, and finding that at the core, the same things count, regardless of culture: trust, love, friendship, honesty.
I love this book: I love its language, and its theme. And I really hope there will be a sequel. ...more
It's not easy to find your footing in this book if you haven't read the others that went before it – which I haven't. But the first chapters with the It's not easy to find your footing in this book if you haven't read the others that went before it – which I haven't. But the first chapters with the many character introductions are like a lively surf: once you're beyond that, you'll find yourself in calmer waters, and easily ensnared by a compelling story. This is a sweeping family saga, with many twists and turns, and many people telling it from their point of view. Again, this may not everyone's cup of tea, but it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, it adds to the mosaic. A nice read for a lazy Sunday afternoon!...more
On occasion you come across a story that is more like a monument, or a temple to the human spirit. A piece that is never forgotten. The words, the phrOn occasion you come across a story that is more like a monument, or a temple to the human spirit. A piece that is never forgotten. The words, the phrases, and the story it tells,weren’t written to entertain; but to endure and be a testimony to what writers can do.
Think of Willa Cather and her My Antonia, Tony Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Doris Lessing’s Golden Notebook.
Novels that weren’t written to entertain. They were written to tell the tale of humankind, of suffering, adventures, liberation and the incredible love humans are capable of once they overcome the boundaries of society, habit, and custom.
One of those stories is Martie Odell Ingebretsen’s Sweet William. Even though it is a novella, it manages to explore in wonderful, poetic language the way pain can reduce a man’s life to the lowest level of human existence—the daily fight of a life on the streets.
William, after losing his wife and child, his work, his passion, has chosen this path by default. He has chosen to be alone, his needs and desires pared down to sheer survival. His days are chopped into little rituals to give them structure, but nothing more. Emotions, contact, and communication are not things William wants. He lives with the certainty that by locking all these out he will also succeed in locking out pain, and memories, and loss.
But life loves William more than he loves life, and it wants him back. Like a flower unfolding after a long, dark frost, petal by hesitant petal, William’s heart is opened by the patience and love of a few people who are willing to ignore his current condition, people who know he has much to give and who reach out to him. Step by tiny step, he regains all the things he has either locked inside himself, or out of his heart.
I want to call Ingebretsen’s writing voice formidable, overwhelming, literary in a way that many authors won’t allow themselves to be. She must be a fearless, clear-eyed woman to write the way she does, and yes, she makes me jealous at times, when I wish I had thought of that phrase, and not she.
I want this author to write long, fat novels. I think she has it in her to write that thing we all dream of writing, The Great American Novel. I want to hold that novel in my hands while I go on that exciting journey with her. And I want to be first in line when Ingebretsen sets out on her book signing tour, to get my copy signed.
Now I can hear you say, “Well, she has to praise her. They share a publisher!” But a polite, kind, bland review would have done the job. I could have said, “A great read, an interesting new author,” and everyone would have been pleased. Everyone but me. I believe what I’m saying about Martie Ingebretsen. Watch her. If she keeps writing, if she does start writing novels, we’ll see her at an award ceremony someday, holding up one of the big awards....more
Attic of the Mind is one of the most sinister tales I've ever read. It points its relentless finger at psychiatric wards suffering from being understafAttic of the Mind is one of the most sinister tales I've ever read. It points its relentless finger at psychiatric wards suffering from being understaffed, at young doctors who have to buckle down in a corrupted system to make their own career, and it lifts the veil from abuse inside the family. Martin manages to meander through what is really a pretty straight-forward storyline and pick out claustrophobic, dismal scenes on the way: you want to put this book down and take a breath, and you can't. The further you read, the tighter and more frightening the story gets, and just when you think that all has ended well it takes a brutal turn. I can see this as a theater production. The well-defined parameters of a stage would lend themselves well to the tight and focused narration....more
I picked this book up because of the twitter stir it was creating, and I have to say I'm not sorry I did! In fact I liked it so much that I bought theI picked this book up because of the twitter stir it was creating, and I have to say I'm not sorry I did! In fact I liked it so much that I bought the paper copy after first downloading the kindle version. In a way, the story reminded me a bit of Mary Doria Russell's "The Sparrow", which I also loved very much. Both books deal with misconceptions, the otherness of Alien societies, and how to deal with differences. Who is human – and who is MORE human? I'm looking forward to the next installment!...more
"Land Of Hope" has so many faces, it's hard to begin and describe it. It's a crime story that feels as British and comfortable as a Midsomer Murder epi"Land Of Hope" has so many faces, it's hard to begin and describe it. It's a crime story that feels as British and comfortable as a Midsomer Murder episode. It's an international thriller that reminds of a Bourne movie, and it's a beautiful, and very atmospheric insight into life in China, both in the past and the present. While Kirk makes the crime story move forward at a good pace, her writing really shines and sparkles when she delves into the Chinese culture. It's astounding how her style, her entire language changes. I want Kirk to write more novels set in China. As sexy as her DI Gordon is - this is where her real strength lies....more
Loved the concept, loved the writing, and in general the entire book. There's only one thing. I wish Ness hadn't made this entirely a book about a heaLoved the concept, loved the writing, and in general the entire book. There's only one thing. I wish Ness hadn't made this entirely a book about a headlong flight, interspersed with brutal fights. There is no relief, no moment for the character or the reader to catch their breath, not one moment of beauty. Moving on to "The Ask And The Answer" now, and I hope that one will have a little more depth. ...more
Today, May 2nd, 2012, the IPPY Awards committee announced that "The Distant Shore" won Bronze in the "Romance" category for 2012! I'm beyond happy, anToday, May 2nd, 2012, the IPPY Awards committee announced that "The Distant Shore" won Bronze in the "Romance" category for 2012! I'm beyond happy, and so grateful! ...more