Saturday, August 12, 2017

Children Remember Their Fathers --edited by Thomas Hubbard

Nonfiction / Poetry  
150 pages
5 Stars

The subject of these poems is Fathers. We all had one, and the thirty-three poets who contributed to this book, all have different memories. Some are happy; some are not. All will touch your heart, and many may pierce your soul.

These poems made me think of my Daddy, and how grateful I am that he was not like some in this book and how grateful I am I had my Daddy, who was perfect—at least for me. As Hubbard says in the beginning: "Children wrote this book." And children will read it. And, perhaps, be inspired to write their own poems about their fathers.

No longer in print, this book is still available, and I think it is well worth the time to search it out, the cost of purchasing it, and the time to read it—again and again.  

Mosquito & Ant --by Kimiko Hahn

Nonfiction / Poetry 
104 pages / 982 KB
5 Stars

This was my introduction to the poetry of Kimiko Hahn, and I predict a long friendship between her writing and myself. These are strong poems about modern woman, set against a background of the Ancient Japanese and Chinese women written in the form of an old pillow book.

The title of this small book with huge poems, Mosquito & Ant, refers to the style nu shu (ancient and secret Chinese women's writing) is written—like the loops of a buzzing mosquito and the tracks of an ant.

These poems are passionate, cover a variety of topics, and beg to be read several times for both their beauty and message. The Notes at the end of the book are also worth reading.

Excellent book. Highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Lens of the World (Lens of the World Trilogy Book 1) –by R. A. MacAvoy

Fiction / Fantasy
288 pages / 2261 KB
5 Stars

I just finished this book on my eReader. It had been several years since the series first came out, in 1990 I think, and therefore several years since I first read it. I have been a fan of MacAvoy's for years, and have read most, if not all of her books at least once, so finding this was like meeting an old friend after a long absence.

This book reads like a letter from an old friend. One who is catching you up on all that's gone on in his life since you last met. Fortunately for you, he's led a fascinating life since last you talked, and it is so hard to put this book down.

Nazhuret is an orphan of unknown parents and an outcast who is educated in a rather exclusive school until turned out. He then stumbles into the home of Powl, where his real education begins. Until he knows all that Powl can teach him, and he must make his own way in the world. (There are a few typos in the book, where Powl is spelled Fowl. Just know they are there and keep reading. Typos happen.)

I can't help but wonder if GRR Martin didn't get his idea for Tyrion Lannister from reading these books. Nazhuret and Tyrion are not the same character, but, still....

MacAvoy is a superb storyteller. I've never been even slightly disappointed in her books, and this one held up nicely to being re-read. Now that I think about it, all of her books have held up nicely to being re-read. If you haven't been introduced to Ms. MacAvoy's books, please, allow me to introduce you to Nazhuret.

Dying on the Vine (The Gourmet Detective Mysteries Book 3) –by Peter King

Fiction / Cozy Mystery 
288 pages / 933 KB
5 Stars

If you're on a diet, you may not want to read this series. The Gourmet Detective's author is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, and he loves describing various foods and the wines that go with them.

The story takes place in Provence, with side trips to Monaco, and abandoned towns. The owners of a large winery want to know why a wee winery is offering to buy their vineyard for a price way over market value. The Gourmet Detective is hired to find the answer. He was not hired to find all the bodies, but hey, it's a mystery.

This is a cozy mystery, or as I call it, fun fluff. A great read for the beach, or if it's winter, read in front of the fireplace.  

Friday, August 4, 2017

morning in the burned house -- poetry, by Margaret Atwood

Nonfiction / Poetry  
128 pages / 691 KB
5 Stars

I first read this book shortly after it came out in a small hard back. I don't normally spring for pricey hardbacks, but for Atwood, well, lets just say I've never regretted it.

These poems are dark, well crafted, filled with beauty, history, and wisdom. While many of the poems are dark, they are never whiny or maudlin.

These poems take you from the Marsh Languages to Half-Hanged Mary - the story (true) of a woman who was hanged and lived to tell about it, to fireplaces and burned houses surrounded by many others. Attwood knows how to turn a phrase, to invoke an image, a smell, a life, with a minimum of words.

If you can find a copy of this book, I think you will enjoy it. It is, simply, a marvelous, beautiful collection of her poetry.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Secondborn (Secondborn Series Book 1) --by Amy A Bartol

Fiction / Dystopian Fantasy  
321 pages / 3138 KB
3 Stars

I so wanted to like this book. To really, really like it. And parts of it were great. But parts of it weren't.

The premise of the Firstborns being the haves, and their younger siblings being the have-nots, or slaves, was and is an interesting premise. In fact, that was the main reason I read the book. Frankly, I enjoyed the heck out of the world Bartol created, but I wish she'd done just a wee bit of research on the military.  (Hint: Military Recruiters are over worked and under paid. You want information, bribe them with a good lunch in a nice restaurant, use their proper rank/name in your Acknowledgements, and give them two signed copies when published. If you're writing about enlisted, bribe the enlisted recruiter; if you're writing about officers, bribe the officer. If you're writing about both, buy two lunches!)

Now, I realize most of the readers probably haven't spent time in the military, but I must tell you, that's what threw me out of the story the most often, and why this book only received 3 Stars. It would have been fewer stars, but I really, really, liked the idea. (If you want some good female soldier stories, try Elizabeth Moon's books.)

Our protagonist is perfect. She is beautiful, buff as Demi Moore was for G. I. Jane, men fall in love with her, she has no enemies, and when she does, she is seldom wounded and never for long. Well, maybe a couple of enemies like her mother, her brother, and a Census agent, but they don't count. Do they?

Spoiler: The book is not a self-contained story. It leaves off as she sort of wraps up one adventure only to head off into another, but there is no resolution.

Will I read the next book? Maybe. Do I recommend this one? Yes, with reservations.