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Stone Lake (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 29 October 2017 00:00

tone Lake was an odd book sent to me by a friend (you want to challenge me, Boy? Think you can send me books and not get ones in return? Well, we’ll see about that). When I first got it, I frowned at the cover, frowned at the back, and thought “Why is this guy sending me chick-lit?”

So Jon (See, chick-lit) is a dude who lost his company to his shitty best friend. Most of his time is spent working for free. Most of his money goes to his blubbery lazy mom. He’s divorced – and his ex hooked up with Mr. Shitty. So Jon lives the country-western song life – out in a cabin in the woods (with an outhouse) – just a quiet life with him and his truck and his books. Nothing is going to change for Jon.

Until he rear-ends Morgan, a troubled rich girl (all the rich folk live around the lake – just like those North Carolina old-rich enclaves) who is hanging around her parent’s house and dreading her upcoming wedding to a nice quiet lawyer. And she’s got her own dark past, one her parents sneer at her over. Yeah, so everything’s screwed up.

And Jon and Morgan fall in love, the quiet hero and the crippled sparrow. Tenderness ensues. Romance blossoms. But what can they do? Their lives are fixed. Will they just pass in the night? How will love win out? Will there be a happy ending?

Truthfully? I was about to drop it. It was just a little too syrupy. Maybe my sister would like it.

And then the story wrenched into a turn I did not see coming.

Bravo!

I really love, as a reader, when writers break from standard melodramatic crap that most stories follow. It’s refreshing to find one’s bookmark moving through uncharted territory. Another couple of pages and I might have bailed. So off we went in a new direction, just setting things in a totally unexpected way. Not quite chick-lit, not by the end. And, as they say, “a long way to get to the punchline” but it was enjoyable all the same.

If you like romance and you like interesting off-the-wall twists, you’ll love Stone Lake.

>>>I CAN’T SAY FIRE AND BRONZE WAS UNEXPECTED – I KILLED THE HEROINE IN THE FIRST SENTENCE. BUT HOW WE GET TO THAT POINT, THAT’S THE INTERESTING BIT. BUY IT OFF THIS LINK AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 October 2017 20:03
 
Pygmy (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 22 October 2017 00:00

ll the Cedar family knows is that they have, at the urging of their church, adapted a young boy from a third world country, one that they wish to share the blessings of American culture and consumption with. This family is pretty screwed up, with the son a moraless turd and the daughter sniffing solder fumes, mom burning every battery in the house in her vibrator and dad just oblivious to it all. They've even renamed him "Pygmy" without the slightest thought or hesitation.

All Agent Number 67 knows is that he's succeeded in being imbedded (along with several fellow agents) into oblivious American families. He's been stripped from his natural family at an early age (and told they died in an American Nuclear attack the evidence of which he's never seen), trained for years and turned into the perfect weaponized human. And with his fellow agents, he will bring about Operation Havoc, whatever that might be.

This weird story comes to us from Chuck Palahniuk of Fight Club fame. It's a neat little scramble of the things America does to other nations (through its open wars and cultural exportation) and the things other nations do in crazed response (terrorism and worse). Written from Agent 67's POV, it is a funny outside-looking-in critique of our world, of how lazy and ill-trained our youth is to the ineffectiveness and disinterest of government. And through it all, 'Pygmy' tries to make sense of this society he's being sent to destroy via his pigeon-English dispatches (amazing that agents who can spell any word in a spelling-bee can't construct a simple English sentence). But it was cringingly funny and after the initial stumbling of getting used to the main character's cadence, it reads fine (I had to laugh when my mom's friend picked up the book, glanced at a random page and frowned - yes, this book is about you, I suppose). So, yes, quite an enjoyable read, all the way down to the ticking-bomb end.

I've never read Fight Club (just seen the movie) but perhaps I'll have to read it now. I sure enjoyed Pygmy. Ever since I read A People's History of the United States, I've been looking for something like this. Fun and poignant, a great read.

>>>IF YOU LIKE JUST DEALING WITH PHOENICAN WORDS IN FIXED CONTEXT, TRY MY BOOKS INSTEAD. DOWN THIS LINK!<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 October 2017 10:04
 
He gave me Barn Cats (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 16 October 2017 00:00

met Maria Santomasso-Hyde in her art gallery in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful art, all sorts of country paintings. But then we got to talking. We’re both writers. We’ve both lost cats. Then she mentioned she had a book she was selling off a stack to one side, an autobiographical work she’s put together. Of course, I almost always buy such things – you gotta help those as hungry as you, right?

Maria’s deal is that she’s very Christian and very loving, so when she went through a year where she lost nine loved ones (her mom, her loyal dog, and three cats from the barn, along with various other humans), she had to start looking at God critically. In her mind she had a scorecard, with GOD: 9 MARIA: 0 on it. She didn’t quite come out and damn God, but she wanted answers. Why did she have to go through this? Why did He take all her loved ones away?

Written from different points of view, the story leaps from herself to her husband to her mother, to the ghosts of the departed, to the animals in her life (so maybe it’s not quite autobiographical, by definition). But yes, having just had a dear cat pass which left an aching hole in my life, I was asking the same questions. And Maria nailed that sense of loss, so much that two times I found myself reading while tears streamed down my cheeks. Tough tale, well written.

I won’t go into how Maria pulls herself together, what steps she goes through and discoveries she makes. It was just  a beautiful book, one that flows like water in a mountain stream, every now and then tossing off a thoughtful splash. I really enjoyed it –so much that I’m going to put a link at the bottom of this review.

If you have suffered a loss, skip the self-help books. Have a look at this one to restore some sort of meaning in your life. It helped me, and I’m certainly not a traditional Christian reader.

Poignant.

>>>IF YOU LIKE ADVENTURE OR HUMOR (OR EVEN SELF-HELP BOOKS FOR CAREERS) CHECK OUT MY OFFERINGS DOWN THIS LINK!<<<

 

Last Updated on Monday, 16 October 2017 19:43
 
How to be happy (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 October 2017 00:00

o, I didn’t get this because I was depressed about my cat’s passing (well, maybe a little). Titled as above, and subtitled as Not a Self-Help Book, Seriously), it intrigued me. The cover shows a hand holding a wick of sorts, which turns out to be the light (we find) that surgeons on night-shrouded battlefields and inside shot-ravaged frigates used to illuminate their patients. It’s a desperate form of healing illumination – fitting.

So inside this curious book, we see a dedication to a bunch of people “but not Sandra”, and the statement (which I love) – “On day, if you’re lucky, you’ll say something beautiful and true and people will love you for a little while.”

See, it’s already strange.

At this point, we begin a long string of emails from Sandra to Iain (our author) about the new self-help book he’s been commissioned to write. These are followed by his replies and his submissions. At first, yes, they are a little scatterbrained, moving from this topic to that, all true in a bit of an unstructured way. Sandra patently corrects Iain to the book she envisions, and Iain’s corrections are a little more off the mark. She proposes a horrible cover for the book, noting that it’s going to be made into a major motion picture. And Iain continues his thoughtful prevarications, attempting to give Sandra what she requests while remaining true to herself.

And that’s how it continues as their relationship gets more strained, as Sandra threatens legal action, as Iain fusses about what makes people happy, slipping even further afield. Yet his suggestions and observations, even as he seems to be coming unglued, bear a great deal of truth. I particularly found one fascinating (and forgive me if I misrepresent it) that claims that if you love someone and are loved back, you have entered a game of chicken with them, where the looser will have to watch the winner eventually wither and die, and then be left with the grieving and the aftermath. Like, isn’t that true for me. He also adds that this means that smoking is cheating, since it shortens your lifespan and increases your chance of winning. Hmmm.

And on it goes. Even the exercises are though-provoking: If your body was inhabited by someone you really respected and admired, how would you treat them? Why don’t you treat yourself like that? And as Sandra and Iain fight it down to the bitter end, there are Iain Thomas’s poems and short stories, each wonderfully interesting. There is even his drawings. There is a lot to get from a book like this.

And what happens? Does Iain satisfy Sandra, or does she bankrupt him with legal action? There is actually a climax and conclusion to this story, but since I never do spoilers in my reviews, I won’t do so with this book that isn’t a self-help book but, in a strange way, is. So do yourself a favor – pick up this clever little thing and read it. It might help you.

>>>I’LL EVEN ADMIT THAT I HAVE A SELF HELP BOOK FOR SALE (ATTENTION, MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS). BUT IF YOU’D RATHER READ OF ANCIENT POLITICS AND BATTLES, WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 08 October 2017 08:11
 
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