Friday, October 2, 2015

Dark Blooms

~ My poem Ask the Wolf has been posted at Dark Blooms Literary Zine.  Thanks to editor JD DeHart for graciously inviting me to submit my work there.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Time Garden by Daria Song

The Time Garden will sweep you away into an enchanted world, created in intricate pen and ink by Korean artist Daria Song.

Journey through the doors of the cuckoo clock and into its inky innerworkings to discover a magical land ready and waiting for you to customise with whatever colours you can dream up.

The Time Garden is an international best-selling colouring book and this edition finally makes it available in English. Full of beautifully detailed illustrations, this is the perfect gift for colouring fans of all ages.

Review:  I was so excited to receive a copy of The Time Garden, an adult coloring book.  Before this, I only recently found out about adult coloring books by reading a fellow poet's Facebook post.  Curious, I looked up the title (of another coloring book) on and was amazed to find several other "adult" coloring books available.  I wondered why no one else had come up with this simple idea a long time ago.  I know they're called adult coloring books, but I think they would be suitable for children as well.  

I looked through each page of The Time Garden and was immediately drawn to the images inside.  There are cuckoo clocks, gears, trees with fruit hanging from them, leaves, flowers, and many architectural elements.  I wish that I could draw as wonderfully as Daria Song but unfortunately was not gifted in this department.  Each image is drawn so carefully and perfectly, the entire book is truly a work of art.  What sets it apart is that there's an enchanting story within the images that allows the reader's imagination to flow.  

Can't wait to begin coloring and I think I will stick to colored pencils.  The book is too beautiful and I would worry about smudging with ink pens and having them bleed through to the other side.  I also think this book would make a great gift for a young girl or even a middle-aged woman like myself (young at heart).

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Publishing Interview

~ I have an interview posted at poet & writer Eliot Gilbert's blog, about poetry chapbook publishing and Flutter Press.  Thanks again Eliot for inviting me to participate! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills

Behind a villa in the heart of Tuscany lies a Renaissance garden of enchanting beauty. Its grottoes, pagan statues and classical inscriptions seem to have a secret life of their own - and a secret message, too, for those with eyes to read it.

Young scholar Adam Strickland is just such a person. Arriving in 1958, he finds the Docci family, their house and the unique garden as seductive as each other. But post-War Italy is still a strange, even dangerous, place and the Doccis have some dark skeletons hidden away in their past.

Before this mysterious and beautiful summer ends, Adam will uncover two stories of love, revenge and murder, separated by 400 years... but is another tragedy about to be added to the villa's cursed history?

Review:  Book Cover:  Beautiful...the cover alone entices the reader to want to open the book and explore what's inside. The red title font stands out and draws your eye to the cover.  There is something about the words Savage Garden that has always drawn me in.  I was a big fan of the music group Savage Garden back in the day, but that's a different post.

This book was a long, slow read for me. I actually started reading this book in July but set it aside for a while and then came back to it, a few chapters each week. Although the mystery of the meaning of the memorial garden was intriguing, I wasn't able to absorb the story and really get into it as much as I thought I would. Sometimes I forced myself to keep reading, there were moments in the story where it held my interest and others where I felt bored and had to close the book. Lots of inner dialogue and thoughts, which isn't a bad thing but tends to slow things down a bit.

The settings include a garden and villa in Italy; both romantic and old world. There is a drawing of the memorial garden at the beginning of the book. The reader won't quite grasp all the different areas located in the garden until they begin reading the book.  

The cast of characters is very well done. Besides the mystery of the memorial garden (which plays on Dante's Inferno), there is also a murder that occurred in the villa many years ago that encourages the reader to keep on reading to find out who killed one of the men who lived there. Secrets from the past come to light in the present.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dying into Now by Pablo Neruda

"In the end, everyone is aware of this: nobody keeps any of what he has, and life is only a borrowing of bones."

~ Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

Review:  I absolutely adore this book, it's enchanting and heartfelt; a book that you find very hard to put down to take care of chores or other demands that daily life brings.  

The main character, Jean Perdu, runs a floating bookshop on an old barge named Lulu.  Perdu thinks of himself as a literary apothecary which I found to be such a clever title.  He tries his best to prescribe certain books to certain people as a remedy for what ails them; he seems to know what others need.  He's very keen at reading people and what may be troubling them.  At the same time, Perdu has his own issues to include loss (losing the love of his life), regret, doubt, forgiveness, etc.  He's not sure what to do with himself as the years go by without his love, he finally reads a letter that she left for him over 20 years ago. After reading the letter, he leaves everything behind at the spur of the moment and takes off on his barge to return to the hometown of this woman, to find closure after discovering something very terrible has happened.  Along the way, he is joined by other people who are also going through their own issues.

This book is written so beautifully and poetically.  The author's love of imagery and color is very apparent here which helps the reader to visualize what she is referring to, whether it was a stormy sky or fields of lavender.  There's also a sense of adventure as you travel with Perdu along the waterways of France, stopping at various towns in-between, sightseeing and tasting different local fare described in vivid details.  I could imagine all these things and wanted to keep reading more.

The end of the book contains a pleasant surprise; there are recipes from Provence which the reader can try or just hold onto, as if holding onto a little piece of France (for those of us who dream of visiting one day).  There is also a list of books that Perdu would probably recommend to certain people and ailments they supposedly treat.  The author put a lot of thought into this book and it shows.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys love stories, travel, France, adventure, healing, and nostalgia.  I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Plum Tree Tavern

~ My short poem Two Plum Trees has been posted at Plum Tree Tavern, run by poet & editor Russell Streur.  It's a lovely poetry journal which features short poems and haiku.  Here is the submission description:

"This tavern invites short work reflecting themes of nature, environment and ecology. Three to 14 lines per poem sounds about right.  Longer works of eco-poetry will also be considered. So will works related to human rights.

Submissions are expected to align with a Green ethos.

A few words on haiku and related forms: these works must arise from direct observation or personal participation in the image. Haiku and similar forms appearing to be of derivative or fictional origin will not be accepted."