Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Dark of the Moon (Chronicles of Lunos Book 1) –by E. S. Bell

Fiction / Fantasy
542 pages / 4728 KB
3 Stars

DISCLAIMER: I received a free electronic copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Fantasy is my fiction-of-choice. Magic, dragons, wonderful worlds of dark and light. This was not it. While I did rather enjoy the world Bell created, I felt I was reading a second draft—the first edit of the first draft. Names were often spelled two different ways. In many places words that sounded similar were used such as 'are' for 'our', 'that' for 'than,' or outright wrong words, such as, 'fauna' instead of 'flora.' Far too many sentences read like they had been copied and pasted from someplace else without being smoothed out. The tenses did not match; there were too many words—which ones did not belong? Or there were too few words—which words were missing?

I found the protagonist unbelievable. Selena has a great power, has trained to use it, to know it, to control it—and she can't. She can summon the water, but cannot control it?

There are a lot of unanswered question by the end of this novel; however, the novel does end. The unanswered questions, I hope are the set-up for future novels and will be answered in later books.

All in all, I found this a very easy book to put down, and a hard book to pick up and read. Romance is not my genre of choice, and this has a distinct flavor of romance set in a fantasy world.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

macCloud Falls --by Robert Alan Jamieson

Fiction / Literary
320 pages
4 Stars

NOTE: Available 15 September 2017

DISCLAIMER: I received a free electronic ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The author is a Scot, and some of the words are spelled a wee bit differently than what we Americans are used to, and some of them are totally different, but they are fun, and easily understandable.

This is what I would call a 'gentle' book—no blood, no gore, no adrenaline. Gilbert Johnson, a dealer in antiquarian books lives in Edinburgh, has recently buried his mother, and undergone cancer treatment. He's travelled the world through his books, and thinks it's now time to do so for real. En route to British Columbia, to research an ancestor of his to write a book, he meets Veronika, who lives in Vancouver, BC, and they discover they are 'cancer twins.'

Gil takes a bus to the village where his ancestor lived, and sends Veronika a short, cryptic note on a post card. She drives to him, concerned about his health and safety, and they spend a week or so together while Veronika drives him around to meet and greet and conduct his research. This is a story of two damaged people learning trust again, learning to laugh again, learning to love again.

There is a lot of humor in this book, especially when people in the village decide Veronika is really Sigourney Weaver and Gil is her script writer, and the villagers convince themselves a movie will be made there soon and they will all get rich.

The book is in five parts, no chapters. I had no problem with that, but for people who are used to fast paced books and short chapters, it might be a tad disconcerting. My biggest complaint was near the 25% read area, when we were given a lot of the actual history of the people and area involved. While it was interesting, it really bogged down the story, and didn't help propel it along. It kind of reminded me of the Begats in the Bible. Hence, 4 stars instead of 5.

Highly recommend this book.

They Were Bears --by Sarah Marcus

Nonfiction / Poetry
80 pages
5 Stars

The words of these poems sing off the tongue and in the ear. Marcus is a master at using the right word in the right place. Sometimes I was outside looking in, then, before I realized it, I was inside looking out.

From the opening line, "The prairie winds mourn" I was pulled into a new world. Why were the prairie winds mourning? Why has the earth imitated me?

These well-crafted poems are meant to be read slowly, one at a time, chewed well, all nutrients extracted before swallowing and taking a bite of the next poem. 

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.