Showing posts from November, 2017

How Cold is your Christmas?

Christmas is coming, and author Sheila Roberts is touring the internet with her latest Icicle Falls novel, Christmas in Icicle Falls. Feeling the need to get into the mood, I decided to read and review it... Christmas in Icicle Falls is the first Sheila Roberts book I’ve read. It’s the last in the Icicle Falls series, which is just one of many series penned by the author, so I’m not sure how I’ve missed reading her novels so far. But it’s a very enjoyable standalone book, so a good introduction to the author’s characters, style and stories. Plus it’s a Christmas story, perfect for the season. It involves an ugly artificial tree, made beautiful with wise decoration. And it involves very real, messed-up human lives, made equally beautiful. Single mom Sienna Moreno just wants a safe environment for her developmentally challenged son. Local author Muriel Sterling wants lots of people to find Christmas joy in her book. Friend Arthur wants Muriel to go on vacation with him. And t

Will you leave your friend to walk alone?

Author Dianna Vagianos Armentrout is touring the internet with her book, Walking the Labyrinth of my heart . She is a woman who has known a mother's greatest fear, and she offers a powerful message for all whose hearts are in pain. In return, I'm honored to offer my review of a wonderful book. Writer, poet, therapist and researcher, Dianna Vagianos Armentrout offers a poignant and realistic view of life and death as she shares the grief of losing a newborn child in Walking the labyrinth of my heart . The author knew for months that her baby would not live. This foreknowledge gives an interesting perspective—to carry a life that is somehow called defective, wondering who or what to blame, and receiving in answer the uncertainties of medicine. As the author so poignantly says, “It is very difficult to live with pregnancy and infant loss in our hyper-electronic, fast-paced, death-fearing American culture.” In the first section of this book, Dianna shares her pregnanc

Does fiction make you think?

I like books that make me think. I'm rather fond of serious tomes on my favorite topics - Bible, science, history, math, how to write better, etc. But I'm totally addicted to fiction. I'm the sort of person who walks around the house with a book in her hand, while other books reside beside the bed, on the dining-room table, in the newly refurbished library (aka son's bedroom, but he's moved out)... and I'll be reading them all. But what I like most is fiction that makes me think. I'll usually only read one "thinking" book at once - a factual book that fills my mind with knowledge, or a fictional novel that makes me ask questions and ponder ... hmmm ... Is informed pondering the beginning of wisdom? If so, I'm somewhere near the beginning and loving it. 22: the biography of a gun by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson certainly made me think when I read it this week. I like the novel's unique construction, like a series of short stories linked

Can you look through different eyes?

Part of the fun of reading is to see the world through other people's eyes. It's part of the fun of writing too. Books let us travel to times and places we might never see, and show the thoughts behind attitudes and beliefs we might never share. They keep us from passing judgement till we've walked in someone else's shoes. And if they succeed, we might just keep ourselves from passing judgement in our daily lives too. No one can really see through someone else's eyes. And other people's shoes will rarely fit. But books... we might learn facts from non-fiction books, but from fiction we learn other people's feelings too. I love to read! The Leaf Queen by Janet Roberts takes readers to Catholic Ireland and the tortuous consequences of wounded family ties. Blending Maeve Binchey's Ireland with modern-day America, it invites readers to see through the eyes of a mother filled with heartbreak, a sister wounded by unintended condemnation, and a woman who giv

Are you writing yet?

It's November. It NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again. So... are you writing yet? I wish I was. I'm not sure I want to try writing a whole novel in November - it being the month of Thanksgiving means lots of time spent shopping and cooking for example, therefore less time to write. But I'd love to finish work on Imaginary Numbers, the next one in my Mathemafiction series. So... am I writing yet? Not really, I must confess. But I wrote a Kitkit story (related to Tails of Mystery) and a poem for our latest Writers' Mill contest. I released two books for the Writers' Mill (our sixth Writers' Mill Journal, and Carl and June: Tales of Two). And I'm on the cusp of posting tons of book reviews. Does writing book reviews count? Does reading count? (Can't write without reading surely!) Am I writing yet? I'm writing a blogpost. Am I writing yet? I've just finished reading about how to get published. Am I writing yet? I'll certainly need

Past, present or future? Which do you prefer?

Can a novel set in the past have a message for the present? Can one set in the future hold a mirror up to today? And can a novel of today hold warnings for the future born in the past? I read because I love reading. I love to lose myself in a book. I love to walk around the house, pages in hand, dreaming another life, another time. But I also read because I love to think. I love that feeling when fictional characters become so real I want to discuss the present with them. And I love the sense that characters born in the past and the future have enough to say that I can stay in long conversation, even when the pages have ceased to turn. So my answer to the question, which do I prefer of novels set in the past, present or future, is probably all three. I love novels that make me reexamine what I think I know--novels that don't just offer a mirror or wall, reflecting back my own ideas, but ones that offer a friend by the fireside feeding their thoughts into mine. A Family of Str


November is National Epilepsy awareness month, and I'm delighted to welcome McCall Hoyle to my blog, author of The Thing With Feathers. We're going to enjoy some coffee together, so please find a cup and join us. But first... Some info bout the book. Sixteen-year-old Emilie Day is not like the other girls from her town on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She has epilepsy, is homeschooled, and would rather be reading classic literature than be the center of attention.  Ever since her father’s death and her diagnosis, risk has not been in Emilie’s vocabulary. Unfortunately, all the safety she’s built for herself is about to be stripped away when, on her doctor’s recommendation, Emilie is sentenced to spend her junior year at North Ridge High School. Fueled by frustration, Emilie doesn’t plan to stay…or tell anyone about her epilepsy.  But Emilie isn’t banking on meeting new friends or getting to know the handsome and charming Chatham York. And she definitely isn’t co