myku: an array of deviant haiku for a new century by Tara Keogh

myku

The art of 5-7-5s…   *****

Being a poet

I know how hard it is to

Write a good haiku.

Tara Keogh not only writes them well, but uses them to make amazing statements about the workplace. her love experiences, and life in general. This is a compilation of two hundred and twelve haikus.  Some of wlhich were previously published in the World Haiku Review.

Like any good poetry, each one should be read, then thought about, then reread.  The meaning of each will vary with the reader, as Keogh states in her introduction. Some I can see putting on a stickie on my computer, some are better left to memory.

Well worth pondering over.  This one gets a solid  five stars.

Lost Legacy (The Skull Chronicles Book 1) by D. K. Henderson

lostlegacy

 

A different approach to telling a fantasy story…..  ***

 

Normally, I do not read fantasy. After all once you have read all of J. R. Tolkien, what could ever measure up to his standard? However, when I received a request to review this book, I was intrigued.

The fantasy part of the story is straight forward. Thirteen skulls brought to Earth by aliens to be used by us to gain the knowledge they have acquired.  The skulls were brought years ago and as mankind becomes aware of the power they hold, there are some who try to steal them for their own purposes. Eventually the skulls are scattered and hidden in various parts of the Earth as the story reaches modern day.

Here is where the approach is different, at least in my experience.  As Henderson tells the  history of the skulls, she mixes in the modern day story of Gemma Mason who begins having dreams about the skulls. Gemma eventually decides to write a book about her dreams. This switching from the fantasy story to what is happening with Gemma kept me reading.

The writing is above average, and the philosophy that Henderson imparts is not only worth reading, but worth a pause for reflection. The novel suffers from more telling than showing but moves at a good pace.

This was a hard book to rate for me.  I give it three stars as a fantasy novel, but the writing style deserves four.  But since this is for fantasy fans, three it is.

Killing Rush by John Calvin Hughes

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   Sadly this is only fiction…    ***

 

This is a fairly well written story of two brothers, Samuel and Adam. Adam is on a quest to kill Rush Limbaugh and his brother decides to go along for the ride and to hopefully dissuade Samuel.    Their adventure across the South is full of good dialog, quirky encounters, and some fairly heavy philosophical discussions.

This is the type of book that makes you think, makes you reflect on your own beliefs, and leaves you probably with more questions than answers.  Hughes uses the brothers to give us insight into issues that we all should ponder at some point in our life.

Some of the situations and personalities are stereotypical of an outsiders view of the South but there is enough realism to keep one turning the pages.  I titled this review “sadly this is only fiction” because we know (no spoiler here) that the brothers are not successful at killing Rush.

This one gets three stars and I would recommend it as a good read.

In Shining Armor: Talitha Cumi (Book One) by T. C. Leonard

Inshining armor

 

A bumpy ride that could be enjoyable…..   *

 

One of the joys of discovering a new author is finding a fresh voice that pulls you in and takes you for a ride.  This book does exactly that.  The author hooks you in the beginning and sets up a storyline that you want to follow and know more about.  The problem is, that like a kid sitting in the back seat on a long trip, I kept asking myself, “are we there yet?”.

Leonard is a good writer.  He creates images that make you feel the ocean, taste the sea air, hear the whack of a tennis racket hitting a ball and sense the emotion of his characters.  He sometimes gets a little carried away with metaphor, but so does Dean Koontz.

The problem is the fact that this is a serial in the complete sense of the word.  I am old enough to remember going to Saturday morning matinees and seeing the likes of Flash Gordon, Rocket Man, or Zorro.  All of which would end in a cliffhanger and I couldn’t wait until the next week to find out how the hero would survive.  This novel just stops.  No cliffhanger, although I do want to know what happens.  While I knew this was book one, there was no indication that none of the storylines would get wrapped up.

The novel has great potential.  It needs a good editor to trim it down and eliminate the parts that drag. It needs a good pass by a copy editor to fix the typos and missing words.  The story is a good one, just not sure why it is broken up into parts.

This, unfortunately, gets one star.  it should have been four.

A Sudden Light: A Novel by Garth Stein

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A not so bright light…..  ***

 

Some novels make you say “Wow”, some are not very good, and some fall in between.  This would be an in between novel.

The writing is good from a technical viewpoint. The characters are bland and one dimensional. The story is predictable and there are no surprises.  The main character, Trevor, is telling the story of what happened when he was fourteen.  The problem is that his interaction with his father, which is one layer in the story, doesn’t ring true.  Much of his conversation with his father is beyond what a boy of that age would say.

Serena, who is Trevor’s aunt, is supposed to be a femme fatal but Stein doesn’t develop her to the extent he could have.  The family history is the backdrop for this story but also adds too many layers to the novel.  We learn about the timber industry, boat building, and what gay relationships were like in the early 1900’s. All of which is fascinating but not gripping.

This is one of those books that when you finish it you say, “okay, what book am I going to read next?”.   This one gets three stars.

The Circle by Dave Eggers

TheCircle-Jacket

 

1984 and then some…   ***

 

As technology encroaches into our lives more every day, it is not too hard to imagine the scenario Dave Eggers puts forth in this futuristic novel.  The thought of complete transparency of each of our lives seems just a few steps away from the current social media exposure most of us have.

This was a quick read, in spite of being just under 500 pages, and did hold my attention.  The ideas proposed by the company known as The Circle were fascinating in that on the surface, they sound like good ideas.  It is only after you think about all the implications that you realize the ideas might not be good. The suggestion of a complete democracy where every voice is heard on every issue is a good example.  The idea sounds good, but one has to wonder about the ability of the majority to make an informed decision.  Our forefathers thought this was not such a good idea, and I have to agree.

While putting forth an interesting view of where technology can take us, the problem with this novel is that is was predictable.  The story itself is simplistic and at times a little unbelievable.  The next to last scene reminded me of the song by Roy Orbison, “Running Scared”.  The main character, Mae, has to make a decision and the reader is not completely sure what she is going to do, “which one would it be?”.  Is she going to turn around and do as she was asked or something else? But since I don’t want to spoil the end, I won’t answer that.

This is worth the time to read it, and for that I give it three stars.

The Drop by Dennis Lehane

drop

Let’s call this what it is……    ***

 

First, this is not a novel, it is a novella.   Actually an expanded short story.  Okay, by word count maybe it is a novel, but for this reader it is an expanded short story.  Too short to justify the price, even discounted.

Having said that, the story is face-paced and a good read.  I wanted to read this before seeing the movie and although this may not be Lehane’s best work, I can see where it might make a good film.  It does read more like a screenplay with very little description.  The style of writing is simplistic yet it held my interest.

Lehane manages to surprise us in a couple of places and in the end, I did want to know more about what happens to Bob and Rocco.  So for holding my interest, even if it was short, I give this one three stars.  I will review the film after I see it.