Saturday, March 25, 2017

Giving Ground --by Lynn M. Knapp


102 pages
5 Stars

These are neighbor poems. Written about neighbors who have immigrated. Some immigrated from different cultures and countries (very apropos in today's world) and some from different neighborhoods.

I recognized people I know, though I have no idea where this neighborhood is. I laughed with some, and cried with some, and thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is open and honest, and very well done.

According to the note about the poet, she lives in an old house, in an old neighborhood, in her town, and I can't help but think she's describing her neighbors. Makes me want to go visit, and maybe move there, too.

An excellent book, filled with excellent poems. If you've never tried to read poetry, at least not since school years, Giving Ground may be just the (re)entry book you've been waiting for.

Confessions of a Pentecostal Buddhist --by Daniel Edward Moore


48 pages
5 Stars

I expected, well, I don't know what I expected. Perhaps poems similar to those of Basho, or Thich Nhat Hanh. These aren't those!

"When the body goes on safari from the mind," the first line of his first poem, Abduction By Ponder. That line alone tells you that you are in for a treat, and a trip (or safari) through places you probably do not know exist.

These are poems of life, of love, of loss, and of great beauty. They are well worth your investment in money, and most assuredly, in time. These poems need to be read, pondered, and re-read.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Redhead (Dovetail Cove 1974) –by Jason McIntyre

Fiction / Novella / Noir 

79 pages / 2123 KB
5 Stars

If you are a fan of noir, check out Jason McIntyre's books. If you've not yet found Dovetail Cove, you might as well dive in here. The books are all about people in the same (fictional—I looked it up) town, Dovetail Cove, Oregon. Their stories interconnect, weave together, but each novella stands alone, there is no reason to begin reading in any particular order. There really is no order, only dark mayhem.

This story focuses on Frances Margaret Banks, Dovetail Cove's most famous Lady of the Night. She claims credit for the deaths of two men, but did she really kill them? One she may have helped with, the other, well, that's up to you to determine.

She falls in love with one of her johns, the red-headed Sean Ketwood. And then the troubles start. And believe me, Dovetail Cove has more troubles and more stories than Grace Metalious ever thought about putting into Peyton Place.

McIntyre does a great job spinning a dark story, and leaving us with the slightest flickering glimmer of hope at the end that all will be well—eventually, and for the deserving.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen --by Alton Brown

Nonfiction / Kitchens & Food Prep

256 pages
5 Stars

OK, I admit it, I'm a Good Eats Junky. And any man who has a pet iguana has my heart!

If you've been around a kitchen for any length of time, a lot of this is old hat, but it's presented in a lighthearted manner, and is a good refresher. I think the bestest part is in the Introduction when he explains how to de-clutter the kitchen. And keep it de-cluttered.

If you're new to a kitchen, this is a great book to help you get set up properly, and for the least amount of money. Expensive is not always best. And his idea to shop at your local restaurant supply is wonderful. I've been shopping at mine for years. Restaurant quality at a price I can afford. What's not to like?

Another reason Alton Brown has my heart and undying love is that he hates items that are uni-taskers. He wants multi-taskers that can do several jobs. No exceptions! Well, maybe one. He likes frenched green beans, as does Spike, his pet iguana, so he has a frencher. I don't like green beans, frenched or otherwise, and I do not and will not have a bean frencher. But I may get a cigar cutter.

At times, I wondered if he was in my kitchen. He knew I had a drawer full of old knives passed down from grandparents to parents to me. I know have decent ones, and the right sizes and shapes for the job.

Do you buy some of your kitchen supplies from the hardware store? The tobacco shop? Why not? Brown gives a lot of recommendations regarding products. I strongly recommend you check the reviews before buying specific brands he recommends. The book was published in 2008—what may have been high quality then may no longer have that same quality.

I think this book is perfect for anyone who is starting out on their own, moving to their first apartment, their first kitchen. I know it's perfect for anyone who has been collecting gadgets for years. As well as old knives. Besides, it's just a lot of fun to read!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Flash Fiction Magazine 50 Stories 50 Authors #2

Fiction / Flash 

112 pages
5 Stars

Legalities First: I received a free electronic copy of this magazine in exchange for an honest review.

More marvelous stories to read while eating lunch at your desk—calorie free desserts, or while you wait for the bus, or just because you really enjoy good, concise, stories. None are longer than 1,000 words, and many are shorter.

In this collection, we are treated to a 7-year old super hero, to brothers mourning, and a tattooed man of special interests. Not to mention a potter who has, shall we say, very unique glazes and equally unique means of revenge.

I may take up pottery.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Targets by Don McQuinn

Fiction / Vietnam War 

501 pages / 1393 KB
5 Stars

Legalities first: I received a free electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.

I have been enjoying McQuinn's novels for several years. Mostly, I read his space operas and fantasies, recently I've discovered some of his war novels. Oh, what a discovery I have made!

Targets follows Charles Taylor, MAJ, USMC during a year's tour of duty in Saigon during the Vietnam war. This is not a story of shoot –'em up bang bang out in the jungle type of episodes. No, this is a much more thoughtful, and thereby fear inducing, of life and love in war-torn Saigon. There are the guys who just want to survive and get home, the guys who want to make a positive difference, and the ones who want to stab a few of the others in the back. And through it all are the Vietnamese who just want the war to end and everybody to go back home.

This is not the first story of that war I've read, but it is the first story of that war I've read where the Vietnamese play a major, and positive, supporting role. While this is not a novel of battles in the rice paddies or jungles, there is enough violence in the city—assassinations and attempted assassinations, back alley beat-downs, and kidnappings—to keep anyone's adrenaline flowing smoothly.

McQuinn also shows the world that a good yarn can be twisted without peppering it with profanities. The yarn is stronger, the twist tighter, and the woven story superb!

If you like a well-written novel, read Targets.
If you like a good story, read Targets.

If you want to know what war is about, read Targets.