Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Lesser Fields --by Rob Schlegel


64 pages / 105 KB
5 Stars

Poetry should live on the page, or if need be, die on the page. Schlegel brings his poetry to life, and when necessary, to death on the page. And he does so with great beauty and tenderness.

This collection of short poems will feed you. They will bring smiles for the very beauty of his words. The images he evokes will, if you're a poet, bring jealousy that he wrote the words, evoked the images, and not you.

I had every intention of reading, and savoring, these poems one at a time. To limit myself to one per night. Well, you know about intentions and using them to pave certain highways – I gulped these poems over three nights. Many I went back and re-read, then re-read them again.

I am delighted to have this book in my library, and look forward to many evenings of reading it again. And again.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bugle --by Tod Marshal

72 pages
5 Stars

If you wonder why Tod Marshall was chosen as the Washington State Poet Laureate, read this book and you'll know!

These are not happy poems, well, not all of them, but there is a lot of humor judiciously placed here and there. And the imagery, oh the imagery. His canvas is paper, his paint is ink, his brush is words. Words that make us weep, words that make us shiver, words that make us ponder the meaning of life, the meaning of death, the meaning of living. A veritable feast for the soul.

A small book you will want to read many, many times.

The Mountains We Have Crossed: Diaries and Letters of the Oregon Mission, 1838 –ed: Clifford Merrill Drury, Intro: Bonnie Sue Lewis

Nonfiction / History Oregon Country

332 pages (trade paper)
5 Stars

I bought this book primarily to read the diaries of the women who made the trip overland in 1838 from the East to the Oregon Country and the missions established by the Whitmans and Spaldings.

Drury has done an excellent job combining diary entries and letters in chronological order to give us a good understanding of the hardships these intrepid pioneers endured. They also give us a valuable picture as to the people who made this trip to bring the light of Jesus to the 'heathen' Indians. These people were not angels, they were, well, people. Humans, actually, with all the frailties involved, both physical and psychological. Petty squabbles and shifting friendships made for an interesting trip, I'm sure.

This is the first of three books, and dealt primarily with Asa and Sarah Smith. Although the book is about the early missionaries, it is not a book that will try to convert you, it is the reporting of their lives, their journey, their hopes, and their dreams. Trust me when I say their lives did not live up to their dreams! They thought they were coming out to preach to the Indians, not to have to build their homes, till the land, do all the work required merely to survive. I think the men were the most disappointed. The women just carried on as women did and do.

Highly recommend this book if History appeals to you. Very well written and extremely well edited.

Descended from Dragons: Moonlight Dragon Book #1--by Tricia Owens

Fiction / Urban Fantasy
5 Stars

A one-sit read. Do not, repeat, DO NOT begin as a bedtime story—unless you're willing to read all night.

Anne Moody is cursed. And she is reminded of it, daily, in a variety of ways. The cameos speak to her, an ice demon inhabits her refrigerator, ghosts pace her roof as she tries to sleep. She lives and works in a cursed house. Many would say she lives and works in a cursed city, Las Vegas.

Anne runs a pawn shop she inherited, and lives in the back of it. She also inherited the curses, the ghosts, and her dragon blood. The dragon blood is both a curse and a blessing. Those who practice magic are allowed to stay in Las Vegas, as long as they don't cause great harm, or upset the balance. The Oddsmakers see to that. The Oddsmakers are the police for the magical ones, and they are not to be trifled with.

A young man brings in a statue to pawn. A gargoyle. What he doesn't tell Anne Moody is that it's cursed and contains a demon. By day it's a stone statue, by night, it's alive – and nasty. Using her Chinese Mirror to look at it, she sees another being trapped in it, and she must do what she can to solve the mystery, to save the man trapped with the demon and to eliminate the demon, and thereby save Las Vegas. And she must do all this without using her dragon familiar too much, because dragons are not well thought of. The Oddsmakers really do not like dragons, and they wouldn't like knowing and having one in their midst.

I am quite fond of weres and various shape shifters, and I find Ms. Owens's characters charming and delightful. At least the good guys. The bad guys are, well, appropriately evil and bad. I admit to a soft spot for dragons, and am delighted to see we have a new universe opening up in Las Vegas—and that what happens in that Las Vegas gets shared!

Scoot over Anne Bishop and Patricia Briggs and welcome Tricia Owens to the playground.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Alameda's Awakening --by Tara Pegasus

Fiction / Literary 

198 pages
5 Stars

Disclaimer: I've known Tara Pegasus for a few years, and have read all the iterations of Alameda's Awakening. And that should tell you something – I don't very often read the same book as many times as I read this one, and not once was it anything but a pleasure! Each time I read it, it was better than the time before. It is a pleasure to know the author, and a pleasure to recommend this book to you.

The characters in this book are fully developed, and the story is believable. Alameda and her brother are born into a hyper-religious family. Her father is the small-town protestant minister, and her mother runs both the church and the house. Alameda knows she needs to escape, but doesn't understand why, and she and her best friend decide to join the convent when they graduate from school, where she will be not only allowed, but encouraged, to play her beloved violin.

Life, and in this case death, happens and Alameda's life is turned upside down and inside out by a virulent epidemic that hits the town hard, affecting everyone in one way or another. Alameda's mind is tormented by the cognitive dissonance brought about by her upbringing and life as it actually is.

Her mother's machinations at controlling her life, her desires to live her life as she chooses, and the small town doctor who befriend her combine to make this a one-sit read. This story is well written and very well told. The characters are believable.

Buy this book. Read this book. Review this book. (That's how you tell an author you appreciate the time and the hard work of writing the book!)

The Constellation of Extinct Stars and other Poems –by Scot Siegel

80 pages
5 Stars

This is a small book, with a huge impact. Siegel writes poems of 1920s Oregon, which take you to that time, and place. He writes of more modern times. He writes of moths, that may be butterflies, that drink from extinct stars. His poetry singss of a lone wolf who travelled across Oregon to California in search of a mate. He tells of getting a window seat on the wrong side of the plane.

Some poems are sad, some are nostalgic, all are beautiful. Scot Siegel is a master at the craft of writing poems.