Monday, February 27, 2017

An Early, But A Goodie

Very Good, Jeeves! (Jeeves, #4)Very Good, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the earlier Jeeves & Wooster, Very Good, Jeeves sees Wodehouse with some matured characters, but a plot that is still taking baby steps.

If memory serves (and it seldom does, so take that with a necessary grain of salt!), the first few "Jeeves" books Wodehouse penned were written as short stories. This one definitely is and I'm not a huge fan. Or perhaps I should say that I prefer the full length novellas of later books. These shorts felt like they were just getting off the ground only to suddenly land. The books wherein Jeeves and Wooster get to flap their wings for the length of a novel are much more satisfying. Short though they may be, almost all of these stories pack a solid comedic punch.

While the stories change faces over the course of nearly a dozen shorts, the faces of the characters stay mostly the same, thus retaining a certain sense of continuity. Bertie's "friends" and/or old school chums Tuppy Glossop and Bingo Little pop up occasionally. That spunky bird Bobbie Wickham sticks her nose in now and then to make Bertie's life more taxing. His mostly-beloved Aunt Dahlia likewise prods poor Bertie from time to time to make sure he's not idle, much to the delight of us readers.

The collection includes:

"Jeeves and the Impending Doom"

"The Inferiority Complex of Old Sippy"

"Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit"

"Jeeves and the Song of Songs"

"Episode of the Dog McIntosh" (US edition: "Jeeves and the Dog McIntosh")

"The Spot of Art" (US edition: "Jeeves and the Spot of Art")

"Jeeves and the Kid Clementina"

"The Love That Purifies" (US edition: "Jeeves and the Love That Purifies")

"Jeeves and the Old School Chum"

"Indian Summer of an Uncle" (US edition: "The Indian Summer of an Uncle")

"The Ordeal of Young Tuppy"

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Bill Bryson's African Diary

Bill Bryson's African DiaryBill Bryson's African Diary by Bill Bryson
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All the Bryson goodness you've come to know and love at half the calories!

Actually, it's more like a 10th the size. In fact, the worst part about Bill Bryson's African Diary is its shortness. This slim volume is more about awareness and philanthropy rather than a literary or journalistic endeavor for its own sake.

Bryson heads to Kenya to check out CARE International's charitable works. Times are tough there. Clean drinking water is at a premium. There's some slight heart-string pulling, but it's not Sally Struthers sappy. Just the right amount of compassion.

Tidbits of Bryson's trademark humor are wedged in between the descriptions of the ravaged slums and gorgeous beaches. His style and low-key flair are present in small quantities. This would be perfect for the Bryson noob who wanted to test the waters before diving into the deep end of his more chunky books.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017


FirestarterFirestarter by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When some cash-poor college students volunteer for an experiment, they have no idea of the Pandora's Box they are about to unleash. Years later, one of them, Andy McGee, is on the run from The Shop, with his daughter, Charlie. Can Andy and Charlie evade The Shop before their world goes up in flames?

First off, for years now, I cannot read the title without hearing the Prodigy song of the same name. Maybe he'll follow this one up with a book called Fuel my Fire or Smack My Bitch Up one of these days to continue along the same lines.

Firestarter is one of those Stephen King books you don't hear all that much about. A lot of people only know of it because of the movie starring Drew Barrymore in the 1980s. Well, more people should know about it because it's a corking good read.

A 1960s experiment gave Andy McGee and his wife psychic powers. It also altered their DNA enough to produce Charlie, their immensely powerful psychic daughter, whose abilities include pyrokinesis, hence the title.

For a good portion of the book, the suspense comes from Andy trying to stay one step ahead of The Shop. The rest of it is the two McGees trying to escape The Shop's clutches. The Shop, and John Rainbird, make fantastic villains because they aren't nearly as far outside the realm of possibility as evil cars and spider-clowns.

Like a lot of Stephen King books, the relationships between the characters keep the story going. John Rainbird proved to be more than the scene-chewing villain I originally pegged him as. Unlike the protagonists in Doctor Sleep, I feared for Charlie and Andy almost constantly.

I'd forgotten how brutal King was sometimes in his older books. There are some parts of this one I'll remember for a long time. Maybe Stephen King will revisit a character or two from this book before he goes to the clearing at the end of the path, maybe as part of a Dark Tower story.

As I said before, this is a very underrated King book. I don't really have anything bad to say about it. Four out of five stars.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Taken by the Tycoon

Normandie Alleman
Stormy Night Publications
Reviewed by Nancy
3 out of 5 stars


He reminds me of the men who grace the walls of stores where my daughter shops. Men with rippling abs and sinewy ropes of muscles. Men intended for younger women.

I never expected him to notice me. Imagine my surprise when he cornered me in the locker room, pressed his incredible body against mine, and forced me to acknowledge a desire more powerful than anything I’d experienced before.

Now that he has introduced me to the pleasures of being dominated, he wants to possess me completely. But how can I risk my heart, when I know his affection will never last?

My Review

After years in a boring, loveless marriage, Violet Weeks is now ready to meet someone new. She sets eyes on Stuart Swearingen, a man who is loaded, gorgeous, and knows exactly what he wants in a woman.

Will Violet’s hang-ups about being ten years older than Stuart end their relationship before it even starts?

If you’re looking for a romance full of sexual discovery, heat, and a little kink, this may be the perfect short story for you.

Though the story was entertaining and sexy, I was annoyed with Violet’s preoccupation with her age and what her peers thought. She was fit, attractive, and desired by a younger man. It’s not as if he was her child’s age.

As grandma would say, “never look a gift horse in the mouth.”

There were lots of steamy sex scenes and while I mostly enjoyed Violet’s and Stuart’s encounters, I found them pretty tame. I liked Violet’s teenage daughter, Margaret. (Does anyone really name their kids Margaret anymore?)

I wanted moar kink!

I had to go and read a porny Powerone story just to finish off what this one started.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis

Over the years, fantasy has splintered into various sub-genres, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal, and medieval. Stories involving magically enabled American who enters a magical fantasy world to save the day are abundant, some very good, others less so. Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis is a fun read that hits all of the high notes, while maintaining some restraint in the young hero's use of magic and showing a learning curve with respect to other medieval skills While we as readers want to see magic, it can overwhelm a story. Indeed, immediate super powers in all things medieval also detracts. Unless a god endows a character with super powers, it can be hard to believe that a teen from California ends up in magical land and immediately can kill with a sword against trained warriors. Thankfully Lewis has a refined pen. Despite horse riding lessons in Los Angeles, Ethan is not automatically a great horseman. Her young hero wins the day with courage, smarts and using his nascent magical skills of talking to ghosts. He also gets help from others. It's a winning combination.

Ethan Makkai lives in California, a freshman in high school, believes his mother Caitrionai is overprotective. He knows that his ability to talk to ghosts is unusual but wants to be his own person. On his birthday, he escapes his tight apartment only to be attacked by the school bully, who he bests, but his triumph is short-lived, as magical invaders from Tara, Caitrionai homeland, attack him on the streets and kidnap her His savior, a Captain Bartlett takes him back to Tara.

Lewis shows a deft hand with world building. Tara is composed of eight lands and multiple different inhabitants. When Ethan arrives in Landover, his ancestral realm, he is eager to go after his mother, but General Niles, the war leader is reluctant to let him go. Ethan is the heir and must present himself to the other kings to prove his power.

Ethan cannot wait and escapes with Lily Niles and his cousin Christian to find his mother, who is being held by the Ravens, shape shifters, who have aligned with the evil imprisoned sorcerer Sawney Bean. It seems that Bean believes he can use Caitrionai to free himself from his prison and to power a spell of potent evil. Ethan later teams up with Runyun Cooper, his unknown father, who knows the way to Sawney Bean's prison.

But on the way the questers have to escape the Glatisant, a huge monstrous beast, convince some bothersome wood sprites to let them go, escape from the muscular Fomorian king and elude the wild milcai. There is little down time in this engaging novel. As the story progresses, we see Lily form a bond with Ethan that makes her magic grow more powerful, and Ethan learns to use his ability to talk to ghosts. But Ethan also grows up.

Sawney Bean has powerful magic at his call and an army of the undead to fight for him. Can Ethan defeat him. In the coming confrontation with Sawney Bean, a traitor will be revealed and Ethan will have to put on the line his ability to talk to ghosts to prove he is the rightful heir. This young adult novel  packed in enough adventure and action to entice this reader. Join the quest.

Civil War II

Civil War IICivil War II by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A massive threat appeared in New York,
but the superheroes were warned about it by the Inhumans and were ready to defeat it.
During the celebratory after party everyone wants to know how the Inhumans knew the threat was coming...
and they told them.
A new Inhuman named Ulysses can see the future and it can change everything.

Civil War II really wasn't good. I'm currently interested in all things about the Inhumans so I was excited to see they were taking a central role, but they really didn't. Ulysses could have been from any group of super powered individuals and it wouldn't have made a difference, although I'm sure this put the spotlight on the Inhuman characters more. Not sure that was a good thing.

So the conflict centers around Captain Marvel and Iron Man, but in truth it was largely about a type of profiling. Ulysses visions showed a future, but is it ok to arrest someone for something they haven't done. Captain Marvel believed Ulysses visions were absolutely true and started arresting and detaining people before they could commit crimes. Iron Man wasn't sure and honestly his side of the argument was always a bit confusing. I don't really know outside of an early major incident why Tony Stark was fighting the use of the visions.

In the end Civil War II was an undeveloped excuse for the heroes to fight each other.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Six Wakes By: Mur Lafferty

Six WakesSix Wakes by Mur Lafferty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

more like a 3 and a half but hey! round up.

A totally fun sci fi mystery. The world Mur Lafferty built honestly held more appeal to me than the mystery, which fell into place for me earlier than I would have liked, BUT!! still..a majorly fun, pretty fast read.

I kind of, sort of hope there is a future return to this world, although it doesn't really leave room for a sequel, it doesn't close the door on it either, (weird statement there, but true)

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The Cold Eye (The Devil's West #2) By: Laura Anne Gilman

The Cold Eye (The Devil's West, #2)The Cold Eye by Laura Anne Gilman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I find it weird that when I was younger I didn't like western tales or the genre at ALL. But the older I get, I guess I have learned to broaden my horizons.

The Cold Eye is the second in the Devil's West series, it is a exceptionally well written story that straddles a fantasy quest and a western perfectly, not the easiest task in the world.

Terrific world, characters you care for, and the best thing of all, a story that you want to keep reading.

go buy this series.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

The Men Who United the States

The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, IndivisibleThe Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the most boring Simon Winchester book I've ever read and yet I still really enjoyed it! The man just has a way with history that few other historians can replicate. He's the Dr. Frankenstein of history. He enlivens it. He even embiggens it!

Reading the title The Men Who United the States, I assumed I was in for the usual Revolutionary War book. I expected Washington, Adams and Jefferson, and yes it does begin with them (just Washington and Jefferson though...poor Adams). Then it slides into Lewis & Clark, and from there we're off! Surveying of the U.S., the Oregon Trail, and relations with the natives bridge the gap until we get to the railroad and telegraph.

At this point I finally read the subtitle America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible and realized my earlier error. This book is about the people and innovations that coalesced the nation. It does a damn fine job of bringing it all together!

Dependent on your interest in each subject, some parts of the book may lag or entice you more than others. It felt like Winchester balanced his page-count well for each topic. Eventually the reader passes through the day of the car, electricity, airplane, telephone, radio, and television, right up to the internet. It's not chronologically linear from start to finish. Asides abound as they often do with his books. But the flash points and eureka moments of U.S. history are all in a row.

There were a few passages off of Winchester's pen that take license, say with imagined history or off-the-cuff theories. These passages are brief, often no more than one-liners probably meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek. They didn't bother me much, but they'd probably bother a scholar. Then again, why would a scholar be reading this?

So, why only three stars? The subject matter on the whole lacks the tension of Winchester's past books. Prior, he'd picked material that might've made a good episode for Ripley's Believe It Or Not. This stuff, while important and interesting in its own way, lacks much wonder, mystery or excitement.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017


RunRun by Douglas E. Winter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Burdon Lane works for a legal gun dealer who also dabbles in some illcit side deals. When a gun deal goes south and a political figure winds up assassinated, Burdon's friends turn on him and he goes on the run. But who can he trust?

During our third booze-soaked meeting, Kemper gave me two books: Seveneves and this one.

The book started slow. The first 35% was setup, introducing all the players and getting them into position. The remaining 65% was an orgy of violence and betrayal.

Run could have easily been a no-brain thriller but raises a lot of questions on race, identity, and gun violence. Burdon Lane struggles with who he is over the course of the novel. His feelings over the deaths and betrayals set him apart from other anti-heroes, making him more than the Parker ripoff I thought he might wind up being.

While Douglas E. Winter writes great action, the relationship between Burdon and Jinx was my favorite part of the book. Jinx could have easily been a stereotype gang member but wound up being one of the better written characters in the tale.

The never-ending betrayals and brutal violence wore on me after a while. Still, I loved the showdown at the end. The aftermath was a little soft, though.

That's about all I have to say. Run is better experienced than read about anyway. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rise of Empire

Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #2)Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nyphron Rising

With a newly declared heir, the Nyphron Empire looks to gain control over everyone. Melengar stands alone against the growing colossus and Princess Arista has a desperate plan. She defies her brother, hires Riyria, and plans on forging an alliance with the Nationalist Army. Meanwhile Royce debates telling Hadrian about what Esrahaddon showed him in the tower of Avempartha. Royce doesn't trust the Wizard and first intends on learning the truth to the claims by investigating Hadrian's past.

Nyphron Rising is a solid continuation of the tale of Riyria Revelations. I enjoy the story overall, but from time to time the tropes are a heavy weight for me. The antagonists are incredibly evil while the heroes are good for goods sake...except for Royce, he does what he does for profit.

The main strength of the series remains for me as Royce and Hadrian. They are an unlikely duo yet I cheer for them, particularly Hadrian, to succeed. They are two men whose actions are far more important than most realize.

Nyphron Rising was good and I wonder what will happen next as the story continues.

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Emerald Storm

A message is intercepted regarding Merrick Marius's plans. King Alric tasks Royce and Hadrian to find out what Marius is up to which leads to them boarding the Emerald Storm. Meanwhile Princess Arista has left Ratibor in search of the true Heir of Novron.

I had a little bit of trouble with The Emerald Storm largely because much of the story revolves around Royce and Hadrian's travels on a ship. It's full of all the seaman jargon which honestly bores me. Once the duo left the high seas though the story was excellent.

Arista's story was equally strong as she taps deeper into her magical powers and performs some remarkable feats. Arista has demonstrated the most growth of any character in the series and I look forward to how her story continues.

One thing I find I dislike about the series thus far is a lot of time is spent with the characters traveling. When something particularly poignant is happening this doesn't bother me, but to show traveling for traveling sake is frustrating at times.

The Emerald Storm is likely my favorite story of the series thus far and it has me excited to read the final omnibus of the series.

4 out of 5 stars

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017


The Dark RoomThe Dark Room by Jonathan Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

”’You’d remember, if you saw her?’

‘I’d probably remember.’

‘Because she’s a knockout, right?’

The mayor glanced at the photograph. Cain wasn’t sure if he nodded or not.

‘She looks like one of those old film stars,’ Cain said. ’Lana Turner maybe.’

‘You got it mixed up,’ Castelli said. ’It’s Lauren Bacall you’re thinking of. She looks like Bacall.’

The Big Sleep--that was her?’

‘Bacall and Bogart,’ Castelli said. ’Yeah.’

‘One of your favorites?’

‘It was okay.’

‘I mean Bacall.’

‘Bacall?’ the mayor asked. He took another drink.’She was before my time.’

‘Way before mine,’ Cain said. ’But you see her on the screen, and it doesn’t really matter.’

‘Maybe for some guys.’”

Inspector Gavin Cain of the SFPD is interviewing San Francisco Mayor Harry Castelli about a packet of blackmail photographs that he received that date back to the 1980s. The girl in the photographs is who they are discussing. Now the interesting thing about this interview is that Cain is playing dumb on purpose. He knows the girl looks like Bacall, but he throws Lana Turner out there to make Castelli correct him. There is no way that anyone would confuse Lana Turner and Lauren Bacall. Bacall is about as distinctive of a woman to ever grace the silver screen. The only woman I’ve ever seen on film who looks even vaguely like her is Lisbeth Scott, who I always refer to as the poor director’s Lauren Bacall. If you can’t afford Bacall, you get Scott.

Now me, I’d be very leery of Cain at this point. He’s playing a bit of the Columbo, but Castelli has been drinking like a fish, not plowed, but as foggy as the streets of San Francisco. He isn’t quite tracking. If I were his handler, I’d have put the cops off until I had a chance to sober him up or at least have the cops talk to him first thing in the morning while he was hung over, but not yet starting his daily backstroke in a bourbon bath.

Castelli does the right thing calling the cops in, and Cain catches the case because he has the most seniority. He has other cases that he’d rather be working on, but a high profile case like this takes priority over everything else.

The blackmailer promises more photographs.

But doesn’t this feel like the type of thing a guy like Castelli would handle on his own? Powerful men and blackmailers go together like vodka and cunning eyed blondes. You pay off blackmailers or call in a favor to make them go away. The fact that Castelli calls the cops, instead of say a Philip Marlowe type, is interesting, maybe even puzzling.

Of course, there is always the possibility that he is innocent...naw can’t be that. The question is more about how guilty is he.

Cain goes to talk to Castelli’s wife and daughter, which if I wasn’t already having some Big Sleep flashbacks, I am now. If you remember from the book or the movie of The Big Sleep, there is the Sternwood mansion with one member of the family as crazy or crazier than the last one. Bogie spends most of the movie trying to figure out what is going on from people who haven’t had their feet planted on the real terra firma in a long time. Alexa Castelli is the daughter, and she is an IA investigation waiting to happen. She is comfortable with her body and doesn’t mind sharing it with everyone, including an unsuspecting police officer by the name of Cain. The mother is waiting for Cain with a pitcher of martinis, her eyes floating with gin dreams. Her engagement with reality is just a broken string of half thoughts and lost memories weighed down by a melancholy future.

Power and money do not make you happy. You still have to like yourself to be happy.

Cain has an interesting back story. He is involved with a piano teacher named Lucy, who has an anxiety order similar to agoraphobia. Jonathan Moore does a wonderful job giving us just enough about the source of a problem without actually revealing the story to us. He puts us on high alert for the rest of the book, looking for the clues that will reveal those missing pieces. So while we are trying to figure out the blackmailing story, we are puzzling over another case that may connect to the blackmailing case involving an exhumed casket, we fret over the backstory on Lucy, and of course, we are looking for any information that Moore wishes to breadcrumb to us regarding the mysterious Inspector Gavin Cain.

I love the way Moore sprinkles CSI stuff in that is, frankly, fascinating.

”She pulled his bottom lip out, and ran her gloved finger over the broken teeth. ‘You see that, this kind of suicide. End of a pistol’s barrel has a raised sight. It’ll crack the hell out of your teeth when the gun kicks.’

‘The bottom teeth?’ Grassley asked. ‘The sight’s on top.’

‘Most of your gun-in-the mouth guys,’ she said, ‘they put it in upside down. What else are they going to do---pull the trigger with their thumbs? So when it kicks, the sight knocks out their bottom teeth.’”

The case is strange, but becomes more twisted and sinister as more is revealed. As Cain and his partner close in on the perpetrators, the hunters become the hunted. Cain finds himself in a nightmare where he has seconds to be there in time, but is long minutes away. The conclusions will leave your heart pounding and sweat trickling down your neck. Readers who like the references reminiscent of the days of Philip Marlowe will love those subtle undertones, but those just looking for a great thriller will also be equally satisfied. The San Francisco backdrop again proves a fertile ground for Jonathan Moore. I’ve heard there is a third book already in the can. Sign me up.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Moment with Mark Lawrence

What was the inspiration for the Broken Empire series?

There wasn’t any obvious (to me) inspiration for the story or the setting. The main character, Jorg Ancrath, was directly inspired by Alex DeLarge from Anthony Burgess’s 1962 book, A Clockwork Orange. Inspiration is a strange and nebulous thing though. We’re all products of our environment and I have been reading fantasy for a very long time.

You write, in my opinion, some of the best characters that you hate to actually like, great anti heroes. Are you just exploring a different side of the hero character, or is it a necessary extension of the world you are creating?

I don’t create worlds and then populate them with characters. I think about a character and then follow them. So no, not necessary extensions. And although my books do turn out to explore themes in what has sometimes been called a literary manner, I don’t set out to do that either. So I wouldn’t ascribe any great meaning to the character choice other than I write the books I would like to read. So I need characters that interest me. My characters aren’t vehicles for plot delivery, they have to generate the story from within, and to do that you need someone interesting and conflicted.

With being a review site, what are you currently reading? What would you recommend?

Right this minute I am reading a self-published book with two ratings and one review on Goodreads. It’s by T.O Munro and is called The Medusa’s Daughter. I’ve only just started but it’s good so far.

My best read of last year was another self-published title that emerged from the contest I‘ve held the last two years (Google SPFBO if you’re interested). The book is Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, a really great read.

More generally I find my tastes align with many popular choices. I love George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, I am keen for Pat Rothfuss to bring his third book out, Robin Hobb’s work is genius…

Are you a gamer? Physical or video) If so, what are you into right now?

I would certainly count myself as a video gamer, having played with dedication since the things first appeared in the 70s. The truth is though that since my writing took off I really haven’t found the time for it. I bought a PS4 and played one game on it: GTA5. The last games I really got into were some years back. I got pretty good at multiplayer Call of Duty and the RTS game Command and Conquer 3.

When I had a day job I would happily play video games when “off duty”. Now I write full time I find it hard to consider any hour “off duty”.

finally, what would you want to say to anyone who wants to have a career as a writer?

To my way of thinking wanting a career as a writer is a rather upside-down way of approaching it. It’s bit like saying “I want to be an author.” A better approach, one more likely to have a happy outcome, is to say “I want to write.” Nobody can stop you doing that and it shows that it is the writing that will make you happy and scratch that itch. From some people I get the impression that it’s the being an author they’re really after, for some imagined kudos, social approval, popularity, or wealth. And the writing is a necessary chore that will get them there. That’s unlikely to work out well.

Write because you enjoy it as an end in itself (like playing video games). If you luck out and a career comes along, then that’s a bonus!   

Red Sister By: Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes you crack a book, and next thing you're done. Then in the back of your head, you realize you have in your crooked little hands, the beginning of something great.

Mark Lawrence's new tale is a friggin master class in Fantasy, beautifully written, amazing characters and a world that breathes. Page after page, a ripping story that you can't get enough of and you get mad when it ends.

Thanks to netgalley for the ARC, and yes, I will buy it..its that good

I am a fan of the man, I won't lie, but this is great, and will definitely be a book of 2017. go throw money at him.

20oo out of 5 stars.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

King of the Wild Frontier

Davy Crockett: His Own StoryDavy Crockett: His Own Story by David Crockett
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm still trying to figure out how Davy Crocket, who was killed at the Alamo, was able to include details of the Battle of the Alamo in his own retrospective autobiography. I call bullshit!

Irregardless, the frontiersman of American legend and lore lays out his life in a very homespun, fireside style recollectin'. Highly enjoyable stuff here! Old-timey yarn after old-timey yarn is woven into as colorful a tapestry as you could hope for from a mostly illiterate backcountry man of his own making.

His Own Story (which I think was titled My Own Story early on) starts with Crocket's boyhood and upbringing. This is just as interesting as the battles and woodsman stories of his later life, as it gives the reader a deeper understanding of what made the man.

No matter the age through out the timeline of Crocket's life, his descriptions are sparing but adequate. His narrative often merely touches upon a subject or whole swath of an age, but once he gets into a story, he gets into it! Lively accounts of battles with the Indians and 600lb bears are relayed with so much excitement it's as good as watching a movie!

Highly recommended to those already interested in this interesting man!


Oh! I think I just might've figured out the whole "how did he write it if he was dead?" thing. Likely...or maybe I should say...possibly he had the memoir mostly finished and the Alamo chapter was written by someone else and slapped on the end.

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Over the Edge with Magellan

Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the GlobeOver the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe by Laurence Bergreen
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you're old like me, you hear stories about these explorers (if ya know what I mean...wink wink), but usually it's a truncated version handed down to you from a school teacher back in the 1970s, who wasn't much more well-versed in the subject than yourself...

"In 1521, Mr. Magellan was the first man to sail around the world. This was at a time when the world was flat, so it was very tricky!"

Okay, my miseducation wasn't as bad as all that. However, it is nice to fill in the gaps of knowledge with seemingly well-researched books like Laurence Bergreen's Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe.

A good amount of time is spent on Magellan's struggle just to get the backing to begin his endeavor. Maybe that might bore some people, especially since it's right up front. Getting to the actual voyage takes some time, but once you on the ship, Bergreen does a good job of making you feel like one of the crew members. Great descriptions abound of ship life, the terrible food, and general hardships endured by sailors of the period.

Beyond the hardships, there was also the great unknown. Legends and horrors imagined and intentionally invented spooked the bejesus out of people back in a time when a good part of the world was still unknown by Europeans. Just having the gonads to try this sort of caper is impressive, and this book gets you to understand the monumental importance of it all.

Using various sources, Bergreen is also able to get inside the minds of the men and that is what makes this a truly good read. It's quite rare to have so many accounts with which to draw upon for corroboration and insight for an event that happened 500 years ago. The author puts it to good use in explaining motives or at least expostulating with a fairly high level of certainty on what moved the minds of not only Magellan, but many of the important figures associated with this incredible event.

While not a perfect book, it is perfectly good and recommended for those interested in the subject and willing to slog through the minutia of history in order to glimpse scenes from an incredible and often misguided voyage.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Just After Sunset

Just After SunsetJust After Sunset by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Willa: After a train derails leaving its passengers stranded, David Sanderson's wife wanders away from the station and he goes looking for her.

On the surface, this was a tale of people who don't realize that they're ghosts dealing with their fate. Beneath, I think it's about how time slips away and the deeper the rut you get into, the harder it is to get out and do something new. His Kingship picked a good tale to start the collection with.

Gingerbread Girl: After leaving her husband, Emily takes up running on the beach. Her life is turning around until she runs afoul of killer!

This was a pretty gripping tale about a woman running for her life from a serial killer. Serial killers have been done to death but King makes a good tale out of it.

Harvey's Dream: A woman in a boring marriage is surprised when her husband wants to share a dream of his with her.

This one felt like a well-written Twilight Zone episode to me. The characters felt very real to me.

Rest Stop: A writer on the way home stops at a rest area to pee and interrupts a man beating his wife.

This one was okay. It dealt a little with identity but was mostly a writer gathering up the courage to do something about a bad situation.

Stationary Bike: An overweight commercial artist gets a stationary bike. Twilight Zone style weirdness ensues.

Yeah, I kind of liked this but it was a little long for what it was. Stationary bike takes guy into his drawing, guys working inside his body to keep his body healthy, it was a strange ride that ultimately went nowhere. See what I did there?

The Things They Left Behind: Mysterious objects appear in a 9/11 survivor's apartment, objects belonging to his deceased co-workers.

Another Twilight Zone-ish story that should have been a lot shorter.

Graduation Afternoon: A young woman knows she's attending one of her boyfriend's family's gatherings for the last time. It turns out being the last in more ways than one.


N: A psychiatrist commits suicide and his sister reads the file on his last patient, an OCD man named N.

Holy shit! I enjoyed the hell out of this one. An OCD guy's rituals keeping a world devouring monster straight out of H.P. Lovecraft at bay? Loved it!

The Cat From Hell: A pharmaceutical millionaire hires a hitman to kill... a cat?

Pretty brutal. You can tell this one was early King, especially compared to the writing style of the other stories. No wonder it was featured in Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie.

The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates: A woman gets an unexpected phone call from her dead husband.

Yawn. Another plane crash-related tale. King's getting soft in his old age.

Mute: After finding out his wife has been having an affair, a man picks up a deaf-mute hitchhiker and bares his soul. But was the man really deaf?

This confessional tale was pretty good. King likes his shorts Twilight Zone-ish, doesn't he?

Ayana: This was a tale about miracles. It was a little Hallmark-y for my taste.

A Very Tight Place: A guy gets trapped inside a Johnny-On-The-Spot by his vindictive neighbor.

This was a revenge story that wasn't shitty despite the setting.

Closing Thoughts: Not a bad short story collection. N and the Cat from Hell were my favorites. I wouldn't say any of the stories were duds but this wasn't my favorite King collection. Three out of five stars.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Saving Sean

Con Riley
Dreamspinner Press
Reviewed by Nancy
3 out of 5 stars


Nearly a year after being rejected for another man, Seattle paramedic Peter Morse is still pining, so when the one that got away asks him for a favor, he agrees. His mission: track down Sean Reid, the runaway brother of a mutual friend. Peter isn’t thrilled about it—until he finds Sean injured by the side of the road.

Everything about Sean stirs Peter’s protective instincts—saving people is what he lives for—but he never anticipated falling for someone so hell-bent on running away. On top of his physical wounds, Sean struggles with grief and guilt, and the mess his estranged father left when he died threatens to overwhelm him.

Saving Sean means Peter must let go of his pride and turn to friends and family. Asking for help is a bitter pill for Peter to swallow, but if he can’t, how can he expect Sean to accept his help—and his love—in turn?

My Review

I was debating on whether I wanted to continue with this series or not, as my feelings about After Ben were rather lukewarm.

Though the first story was mainly about Theo recovering from the death of his partner, Ben, and finding love again, there were interesting secondary characters, such as Peter Morse, a paramedic who fell for Theo at the wrong time, and Maggie, Theo’s personal assistant and friend, who was instrumental in supporting him through the worst of his grief. It was my interest in Peter and knowing that he too will find love, that gave me the push I needed to continue reading.

While Saving Sean features characters from the first book, the focus of the story is on Peter and Sean, a young conservationist reeling from the death of his estranged father and coping with the results of his hoarding disorder. He is also a brother to Maggie.

This story shared a lot of similarities with the first one, making it feel somewhat formulaic. In spite of the fact that Theo’s partner was 10 years older, Theo was still very much hung up on age differences, even when he became involved with a considerably younger man. Likewise, Peter is hung up on a physical type. Even though Sean, with his lean build, long red hair, and pale complexion wasn't exactly Peter’s type, Peter fell for him hard and fast, leaving me feeling unconvinced that their relationship is destined to last.

Peter is a smart guy with mostly sound judgment. He worked for 15 years as a paramedic and now travels around the country training firefighters and medical professionals in emergency response. Though he deserves a nice guy in his life, I’m not convinced that Sean is a suitable companion. His unstable personality and erratic behavior annoyed me to no end and made me wonder just what exactly did Peter see in him. Sean didn't need a boyfriend; he needed a therapist. His obsession with his father’s hoard and inability to focus on the task of separating trash from items of value even though he risks losing his home led me to think it was possible he inherited the hoarding gene. Instead of being firm with Sean, Peter allowed himself to become a hostage to his unpredictable emotions. He avoided becoming angry with Sean when he frequently ran away from problems. A healthy relationship this is not. Yeah, I know Sean’s father died before they had a chance to mend fences, but that doesn't give him the right to be a selfish, whiny jerk and be ungrateful to Peter, their friends, and his boss, Vik, who are helping him manage the hoard before his home is condemned.

““It's not all garbage. It's not. There's really important stuff in dad’s office, and they're acting like it's junk.” His face twisted. “He’s acting like it's dirty.””

This made it easy for me to side with Vik’s point of view:

“He’s always looking for reasons. It makes him an excellent researcher – I was sorry to lose him to his own project – but sooner or later he’ll see the bigger picture. He won't be able to save every forest, and he can’t hope to figure out how his dad’s mind worked. Some things are inexplicable.”

Where this story shined for me was the growing closeness between Peter and his dad. While I didn't understand why Peter kept his distance from him for so long, I’m glad they developed a warm relationship. Their interactions were deeply moving.

“I felt like we were on a road trip together. Maybe we should have done that for real while you were younger. It just always seemed like there wasn’t enough time. But I guess that this way, every time you sent another postcard, it was like picking up from the same conversation. Are you home for a while, son? I’ll miss hearing from you if you are.”

His dad was withdrawn since his wife's death, spending hours in his workshop, and while he didn’t openly accept Peter’s sexuality, he certainly didn't condemn him for it. It seems to me that Peter should have been adult enough to establish communication and work past this way before now.

I found the sex scenes between Peter and Sean repetitive, lacking in sensuality, and too frequent, especially towards the end of the book. Maybe it’s because I mostly saw Sean as a child in a man’s body. I didn’t care for the way the hoarding issue was addressed, and I wanted more communication between Sean and his sister. The ending felt forced and unrealistic.

Once again, I’m left with a lukewarm feeling. Despite this, I will read the next story featuring Aiden and Marco, even though I’m expecting more of the same. I must be a glutton for punishment.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

International Iron Man

International Iron Man (International Iron Man (2016-))International Iron Man (International Iron Man by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After Tony Stark learned that he wasn't the son of Howard and Maria Stark, he went searching for his real parents.
It wasn't the easiest of mysteries to solve.

I don't blame Brian Michael Bendis for this Tony Stark parentage mess. I believe that honor fully belongs to Kieron Gillen. So Tony isn't Howard's son, so whose son is he? That's what International Iron Man is all about. It's dry and unfulfilling truthfully. I'm not sure what I expected, but it surely wasn't this. The concept stinks of desperation to me. They needed something shocking to happen with Iron Man so they made him into an adopted child. Oh well, it's done and will surely be undone at the first convenient moment.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017


The FiremanThe Fireman by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

”...Her left arm was sheet music. Delicate black lines spooled around and around her forearm, bars as thin as the strands of a spiderweb, with what looked like golden notes scattered across them. She found herself pulling her sleeve back to look at it every few minutes. By the end of the following week, she was sketched in Dragonscale from wrist to shoulder.

When she got over feeling winded and sick, she had to admit to herself that it was curiously beautiful.”

 photo Fireman_zpsa7fkaq6v.jpg

When Harper Grayson comes down with Dragonscale, A.K.A. Draco Incendia Trychophyton, it is a death sentence. The contagion spreads quickly through the body, wrapping its tendrils around the skin, leaving behind these beautiful shimmering scales that eventually start to smoke until they reach a certain maturity or the person comes under a large amount of stress. They then spontaneously combust, experience cellular combustion, develop contagion points, and disease vectors are produced. We can be as scientific as we want to be, but the end result is the infected turn to ash.

This disease is highly contagious.

When one person lights up, it can cause a chain reaction where anyone with dragonscale in the area joins the inferno.

When the crisis hit, Harper volunteers at the local hospital wanting to help anyway she can. She is careful, wears a hazmat suit, but the problem is there is a lot of conflicting information on how the contagion is spread. Almost simultaneously with learning she has dragonscale, she discovers she is pregnant.

Joy crushed by the certainty of death. The disease moves so fast in most people that it wouldn’t be the right time to start reading War & Peace or Infinite Jest. You might want to think more in terms of The Bridge Over San Luis Rey.

Her condescending, but loving, husband Jakob is furious. He becomes fixated on them ending their lives now even though he doesn’t have the contagion. There is much more to be learned about Jakob, so as you read the book, be sure to keep a baseball bat hidden down the back of your leg because you are probably going to need it.

”Harper supposed it did not pay to be too impressed with a man just because he could ride a unicycle.” A good rule of thumb for every woman to keep in mind. :-)

People are dying so fast in such numbers few are not directly affected. Those who live lose as much or more than those who die. Too many people are gone too quickly. ”We are taught to think of personality as a singular, private possession. All the ideas and beliefs and attitudes that make you you--we are raised to believe them to be a set of files stored in the lockbox of the brain. Most people have no idea how much of themselves they store off-site. Your personality is not just a matter of what you know about yourself, but what others know about you. You are one person with your mother, and another with your lover, and yet another with your child. Those other people create you--finish you--as much as you create you. When you’re gone, the ones you’ve left behind get to keep the same part of you they always had.”

You may still have that part of the people you have lost, but it is like having a garden without water or having a flower in the window that the sun never reaches. Without seeing that person, revitalizing that connection, eventually it will wither and die.

With the help of a man referred to as the Fireman, Harper finds her way to a small community of followers who have figured out how to control the disease. ”Cortisol kicks off spontaneous combustion. But oxytocin--the social-networking hormone--puts the Dragonscale at ease.” In other words, stress releases cortisol which inflames the disease, but oxytocin, produced by say singing together, turns the disease into a benign light show.

I’d be humming the Sound of Music 24/7.

On the outside of the community is a radio personality who calls himself the Marlboro Man. He has assembled a crew of executioners who travel around looking for the infected so they can eradicate them. There are always those people who are kept in check by society, but once civilization starts to crumble, their true nature emerges, and we discover that what they really like to do is kill people. The fear of the infection is just an excuse for them to drop the pretenses surrounding their own warped and blackened soul and be who they have always wanted to be...a killer.

Things go well at the community of the infected for a while, but as always seems to happen with human beings, eventually a power struggle breaks out. The camp breaks into factions. The one man who can actually control the dragonfire and use it as a weapon, the Fireman, is the man they all respect/fear. He lives with the community, but on an island away from the rest of them. He has his own demons he is wrestling with, and fire is just one of them.

As the world goes up in flames and the sanctuary community starts to come apart, the only beacon of hope is Martha Quinn’s voice, a blast from MTV of the 1980s, broadcasting over the radio about a sanctuary on an island off the coast of New England. To get there will become an odyssey as arduous as navigating the terrain from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

 photo Joe20Hill20Firetruck_zps6w8vnvnl.jpg
The author Joe Hill

I am a huge fan of post-apocalyptic books. It is a part of me I’m still exploring to determine exactly why I find them uplifting. Is there a twisted part of my psyche that wants the civilised world to end? Am I as crazy as the Cotton Mather followers of the early 18th century? Am I so bored with my existence that I feel a good end of world scenario would shake me out of my doldrums? I don’t think I suffer from any of those things, but self-delusion is always a good possibility. I think what is more likely is that I like seeing humanity when their backs are against the wall, their ass is stuck in the darkest, deepest crack, and absolute annihilation of the human species is on the verge of becoming a reality, and we find a way to survive.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Knock Down the Doors, Blow Open the Minds

The Doors of PerceptionThe Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This must've blown minds when it came out. Now though, it's lost its edge.

Full disclosure, I'm here because of The Doors...of the Jim Morrison sort. Being a HUGE fan of him and the band, I absorbed all I could of them back during my teens. I even read his poetry. Hell, I even read William Blake's poetry, simply because it apparently influenced Morrison. However, I never did get around to reading Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception , the book title from which the band was named. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF A FAN AM I?!?!?!

Well, the reasons for me not getting to it until now are even more boring and inconsequential than this sentence. The point is, I've finally read the damn book. I needn't have bothered. It's pretty much what I figured it would be and there's nothing within it I needed to know.

Backstory: Bookish brainiac Huxley decided to try out the cactus drug peyote. In The Doors... he describes his trip. It's not half as interesting or entering as I'd hoped. (Here's a more entertaining, though less enlightening example:

Nowadays this stuff is so commonplace as to make this book almost quaint. And the parts that aren't outdated, are just not interesting enough to make this a winner in my book. In fact, Huxley spends so much time, too many pages imo, on art and artists that I began to doubt the need for a book on the topic. I mean, if you've got to use filler in a 60 page novette, the book probably could've just been a lengthy article or pamphlet. I get the connection he's trying to make between the artist mind and that of one on mind-altering drugs, it's just that I don't find it all that enthralling.

Still and all, this has its value. Some of the points Huxley makes herein are still valid. He was clearly an intelligent, well-read man. I guess I just didn't have the same mind-expanding experience as Morrison had when reading this.

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Plus-Sized Laughs

Dad Is FatDad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After recently reading Jim Gaffigan's gastronomically good read Food: A Love Story, I decided to go on a mini Gaffigan binge.

As you might guess from the title, Dad Is Fat is about Gaffigan's home life and the travails of becoming a parent. It follows chronologically from him and his wife as a free-and-easy, no-kids couple to having five children all crammed into a tiny apartment.

I related to the no-kids couple, I laughed at some of the parenthood ridiculousness and I enjoyed every part of this book. I just didn't love it. I hoped for hilarity, but got more subtle ha-has instead.

Here's a sampling:

“Whenever one of my children says, 'Goodnight, Daddy,' I always think to myself, 'You don't mean that.”

“I used to wonder why I had hair on my legs, but now I know it's for my toddler sons and daughters to pull themselves up off the ground with as I scream in pain.”

“Look, you lost a tooth. Congratulations. Enjoy looking like a hillbilly. Here’s a dollar...”

“I don't know what's more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early, or acting like you know what you're doing.”

Yeah, there are a lot of one-liners. He is a stand-up comedian after all. However, Gaffigan does a nice job of setting up and exploring his topic, at least a little better than just tossing off zingers. No, this won't replace the What To Expect... series for folks looking to bone up on childrearing, but did you really think that's what you'd find between the pages of a book with this title?

Rating: 3.5

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

'Salem's Lot

'Salem's Lot'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When writer Ben Mears moves back to 'Salem's Lot, a sleepy Maine town he spent a few years living in as a child, he has bitten off more than he can chew. 'Salem's lot is home to an ancient evil. Can Ben Mears and his friends stop the vampire in their midst before falling victim to his lust for blood?

One of the great things about getting older is that old books magically become new books after ten years. I forgot most of the wrinkles of this one so I figured it was a good time to give it another read.

'Salem's Lot owes a lot to Jack Finney's Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers. In this case, the pod people are replaced by vampires! Stephen King does a great job portraying small town life and then destroying it. While I remembered the bare bones of the plot, most of it had been lost in the sands of time so it was a pretty suspenseful read the second time through.

Ben Mears is the first instance of what has become a Stephen King staple over the years: the writer as the main character. In some ways, Mears is a prototype for the protagonists of Bag of Bones and The Dark Half. Mears, damaged by the death of his life, moves back to 'Salem's Lot to try to resume writing. Good luck with that.

The characters other than Ben Mears were an interesting crew. Too bad most of them are dead or worse by the end. I'd read a second book featuring the two survivors dealing with the fallout from this one.

If I had to pick one thing to gripe about, it would be that the ending itself seemed a little easy. After everything that came before, it was kind of a whimper rather than a bang. Also, I had to wonder why they didn't just burn Barlow's hiding place down and be done with it.

40 years later, Stephen King's sophomore effort is still a fine read. His Dracula meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers tale is just as suspenseful as the first time I read it. Four out of five stars.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Fair Game

Josh Lanyon
Carina Press
5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by Nancy


A crippling knee injury forced Elliot Mills to trade in his FBI badge for dusty chalkboards and bored college students. Now a history professor at Puget Sound university, the former agent has put his old life behind him—but it seems his old life isn't finished with him.

A young man has gone missing from campus—and as a favor to a family friend, Elliot agrees to do a little sniffing around. His investigations bring him face-to-face with his former lover, Tucker Lance, the special agent handling the case.

Things ended badly with Tucker, and neither man is ready to back down on the fight that drove them apart. But they have to figure out a way to move beyond their past and work together as more men go missing and Elliot becomes the target in a killer's obsessive game...

My Review

"Surrounded by glistening pine trees, enveloped by rain and fog, for the first time it occurred to Elliot that his extended period of solitude just might be turning to loneliness."

I abandoned the Adrien English mysteries after the second book because I tired of Jake’s assholery.

Now that I’ve finished Fair Game in just one sitting, I’m starting to regret that decision. I’d forgotten how good a writer Josh Lanyon is and how much fun it is to read a light mystery with two seemingly incompatible men whose feelings run deep and passionate. Even though I figured out the villain early on, it was still satisfying watch Elliot Mills and Tucker Lance work together to stop more male college students from being killed, hashing out the problems that ended their relationship disastrously, and kissing and making up.

I loved this story and can’t wait to read the next two sequels.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Vol. 1: Berzerker

Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Volume 1: BerzerkerWolverine: Old Man Logan, Volume 1: Berzerker by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Old Man Logan finds himself in the past.
Logan is embracing his second chance and is determined not to let his future come to pass.

I liked Berserker overall, but I think I would have liked it more if I read it prior to beginning Extraordinary X-Men. Chronological order is important. So Logan has decided to annihilate the people who ruined his future to make sure it never happens. Logan is good annihilating things.
This volume is a good bridge between the Secret Wars Old Man Logan series and the staff of Extraordinary X-Men. It walks the reader through everything taking place with Old Man Logan.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Somnambulist's DreamsThe Somnambulist's Dreams by Lars Boye Jerlach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

”’Time is never waiting,’ the raven said.’It’s script-less and senseless. It’s never hanging around for anyone to catch up. You are dancing an eternal waltz to the sound of your own beating heart. When the music stops, time has already moved on.’”

Being a lighthouse keeper is a lonely job. A job that is very similar in many ways to being a fire lookout in a National Forest. Edward Abbey did that job for a few seasons, mainly because he couldn’t hold down a real job and wanted time to write.

I can’t remember the last time I spent a full day alone. Sometimes I’m alone for an hour or maybe half a day, but always with the knowledge that I will be soon joined by other human beings. My brief moments of aloneness are not loneliness. A lighthouse keeper or a fire lookout might be in an area where the next closest person is fifty miles away or a hundred miles away. I can enjoy my brief moments of being alone, even relish them, but for a lighthouse keeper, the weight of being alone and knowing that it might be days or weeks or even months before they see another person can do strange things to his mind.

Then there are guys, like Jack Torrance from The Shining, who even with their wife and son with them descend into madness without the daily interactions of people to rebalance their equilibrium of proper decorum. Well, he might have had some help finding the road signs that led him to crazy town.

I prefer gentle madness, like the type experienced by Enoch Soule in this story, than the Jack Torrance…Here’s Jack with an Axe...way of dealing with madness. Of course, I may be casting unnecessary aspersions at Soule, for the question of whether he is insane or simply a man with a contemplative mind are up for interpretation.

Soule is having strange dreams.

I’ve mined my dreams for pieces of stories. Sometimes I’ve dreamed whole novels only to watch them evaporate like a snapchat photo before I can even fully appreciate the rosy hue of nipples or capture the sun dappled riverbank or see the dark shapes beyond the dust motes hanging suspended in a barnyard window. I’ve had strange dreams, foolish dreams, and dreams that woke me up with cold shivers that had me fumbling for a pen and a piece of paper so I could jot a few notes of what I’ve seen.

Not only does Soule remember his dreams, but he writes them down.

Not only does he dream his dreams, but he steps into them.

He becomes someone else, someone different every time.

When the new lighthouse keeper arrives, he, of course, as all of us do, makes the place his own. In the course of this settling in, he finds a manuscript titled: The Dreams of Enoch S. Soule. The days are long, and the nights are longer, and soon he is looking forward to the time every day he can spend reading these seemingly deranged writings of a man who is experiencing dreams that would make the most sane among us wonder if Poe’s raven has perched permanently in the halls of our remaining sanity.

Loneliness can lead to many things: existential dreams, brilliant novels, self-reflection, and madness. Can dreams be caught like a petulant virus from those who dream them? Can madness pass through the inked words of the insane? Are you ceasing to exist even as you read this review?

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