All posts tagged: Fiction

Words, words, words

I often emphasize a book’s story as the primary feature of a given book. The story is the initial joy in a reading experience, especially when it draws the reader in and along for the ride. However, in deconstructing a book, it all comes down to words. A story is in essence one word after the other. In some stories, the words are simply the medium of communication, but in other stories, the words themselves are an art form. These stories beg to be read slowly with minute concentration or even read aloud. Many books that achieve that lyrical quality are written in bygone times, before the speedy writing on computer keyboards, before autocorrect, and without the competition of TV and the internet. The old-fashioned words and their voluptuousness are part of these books’ charm. The term ”slower times” is on my lips, and perhaps there is a modicum of truth to that term. There was no constant word count to strive for and perhaps more emphasis on finding that specific word with all the …

Closer look

Take a closer look. Behind the dusty facades, magical worlds unfold. Flecks of dust dance in slanted rays. Light illuminates slices of the interior, moving from left to right. This magical world exists undisturbed and in silence. Hold your breath. Be truly present. You will hear the faint whispers from faraway. They bear witness of extraordinary happenings. Pain. Sorrow. Death. Birth. Joy. Love. Go ahead, step inside. Feel the wooden floor creak beneath your soles. Run your fingers over the spines, holding worlds together, until you make your choice. Take a closer look, and delve into a magical world.  

Revival

As with a good bottle of red wine, sometimes stories need time to mature. In fact, that is true for many things in life. Some things cannot be rushed without detriment to the finished result or the process. As the writer or creator, it is alpha and omega to listen to the tiny gutsy squeak, telling you to take a break, before mulling things over again, and finally, doing what needs to be done. And sometimes, life just gets in the way. In my experience, life is synonymous with work, work, work, and it has been an exciting roller coaster ride, albeit far away from books, stories, and writing. Louise’s Home Library and the many unread books therein, have rested for months now. At times, I’ve even wondered if the chapter, which featured Louise’s Home Library, was over, but at other times, I have tip-toed into my library and reminded myself of all the stories and reading experiences I have to look forward to. And here I am now. I’ve grown in the last couple …

The Mountain Midwife – Laurie Alice Eakes

In “The Mountain Midwife” Laurie Alice Eakes asks us what makes a family and a community in crafting a story where these two themes play pivotal roles for the characters. Ashley Tolliver descends from a long line of Appalachian midwives and now she is left behind by her family, who have moved away to pursue medical careers. Hunter McDermott finds out that he’s adopted after a mysterious phone call from his mother, asking him to help his sister. “The Mountain Midwife” is a lovely tale, written with great skill, about these two characters and the actions that pull them into this small mountain community. For Ashley, the community is her family. All the women, she has assisted in birthing and their families rich or poor. For Hunter, his thoughts about the family unit are challenged, but he instantly has a connection and sense of responsibility to his biological mother. The Appalachian Mountains are a beautiful backdrop, while the characters try to navigate the tumultuous landscape of their lives. “The Mountain Midwife” makes the second book …

Delivering the Truth – Edith Maxwell

In 1888, a Massachusetts a mill town, known for its carriage industry, is subject to a vicious fire. Soon after the son of a factory owner is stabbed to death with a knitting needle. The main character is Rose Carroll, who is a Quaker midwife. She is a charming heroine and I can easily see how she can be the center of The Quaker Midwife Series. Being a midwife, Rose moves many circles in town, and the police officers purposefully asks her to keep her eyes and ears open, but Rose would have done so anyway; she is curious by nature. Through Rose midwifery, we meet high and low and see behind the façade of the individual households. As the knitting needle used in the murder is Rose’s own, her incentive to solve the crimes is high. I found the introduction to Quaker society to be a wonderful frame for the novel. The Society of Friends with their simple lifestyle and vows of peace and compassion balance the horrible crimes. That said, Rose isn’t a …

Miles Away – Addison Kline

Miles Capadonno was sentenced to 17 years in prison for a murder, he didn’t commit. However, Miles spent the time getting smarter and stronger, and now as the end of his term, he is ready to get his revenge against the mastermind behind it all – his father. Miles is a part of the Capadonno crime family with their home base in Carrion, New Jersey. I find that the characters – especially the Capadonnos, who carry “Miles Away”. The family dynamics are exquisite and while the family reads mob all the way, the characters are developed individually. I love the pater familias, who is now bedridden and at death’s door due to cancer, but still the ruthless king and domineering mastermind. Miles’ siblings are equally well defined. Miles as a character is very bound to the music of Springsteen, and it is evident that Addison Kline took inspiration from a lot of mood-defining music throughout the story. There is plenty of Springsteen, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bat for Lashes, Smashing Pumpkins to guide the reader …

Hanover House – Brenda Novak

Merely calling ”Hanover House” a prequel, doesn’t do it justice; it is a CLIFFHANGER! (note the capitalization). The added cruelty is that “Her Darkest Nightmare” (The first book in the Hanover House Chronicles) is set for publication in September 2016 – that is an eternity in reader-years! Get ready, readers, to be excited by the fast-paced, action-packed thriller, that will leave chills down your back. Brenda Novak keeps the suspense high even though, we also follow the point-of-view of Jasper, a psychopath with a horrific plan for Evelyn. Evelyn was Jasper’s high school sweetheart and the one that got away – when he kidnapped and tortured three other girls. Evelyn is still marked by the trauma, but has chosen a career as a psychiatrist to understand what makes a psychopath. She is embarking on a new endeavor, founding Hanover House in a small town in Alaska. Hanover House will house 200 the most malicious mankind has to offer and not everyone is happy about it. One of those is the local trooper Amarok, who despite …

Sabin – A. M. Hargrove

Romance and aliens. Yeah, I wasn’t sold immediately either, but bear with me, within the first chapter, you’ll be hooked by A. M. Hargrove’s “Sabin”. Selena grew up as a live-in maid at her elderly parents’ house, dreaming of life as the little mermaid. She studies marine biology and we are first introduced to her as she dives into the depths of the Caribbean Sea. Sabin, on the other hand, is otherworldly and on Earth as the leader of the Seven, an elite group of fighters who want to keep the universe, and in particular a necklace called Judgment Day, safe. “Sabin” holds every promise of a romantic story. The chemistry is electric between the two, but I wouldn’t call “Sabin” merely a quickie. There is more depth to A. M. Hargrove’s story and characters, making “Sabin” much more enjoyable. That said, I still read in the course of a night. The alien aspect is strangely enough realistically incorporated in the story; it doesn’t seem alien (pun intended), it is just different enough to be …

NaNoWriMo

In my circle of friends and among my colleagues, nobody knows what NaNoWriMo is, not even when I tell them that it is National Novel Writing Month. A few answered with a disinterested, ‘Huh?’ They probably think that it is the same kind of thing as National Carrot Cake Day (2/3), International Kissing Day (7/6) or National Bologna Day (10/24), but it’s not! NaNoWriMo is in a whole other league! In addition, it’s an entire month. Really, I have no right to feel so strongly about NaNoWriMo. I only discovered it last year and only achieved a word count of around 4,600 words. Not exactly impressive. I am however starting over this year. I have a brand new idea – or rather, I don’t have an idea, I just starting writing, but I like where it is going so far. It’s Day 1 and I have 1700 words. To my fellow NaNoWriMo writers: Believe! Not only can we rack up the word count, we can also write something outstanding and original.

Asylum – Madeleine Roux

Asylum has a creepy vibe even before you open the book. The cover photo is of a girl or woman who turns her head just as the photo is taken, or maybe there is something sinister about her. That atmosphere is unease that continues through the book is Asylum’s forte. The book includes disturbing photos that tie into the story. You know there are there, but they creep you not nonetheless. And the peculiar thing is, I looked at the photos before I read the book, and didn’t find them scary, but as I turned the pages and saw e.g. the girl dressed in her Sunday best, staring into the camera with empty eyes and with a jagged scar across her forehead, I was definitely scared. Dan Crawford attends the summer programme at New Hampshire College and just happens to be housed in the old mental institution Brookline. Dan and his newfound friends Abby and Jordan explore an old office and find a disturbing photo that Abby feels strangely drawn to. Dan on the other …