Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Friday, November 4, 2016

Poetry Perfection

My Review of Jim Bennett's 
Cold Comes Through, 
Poetry Book 1

Writing—and reading—true poetry is often associated with admitting vulnerability. Reading it, you have to let it in. Writing it is a lot more arduous: You have to let it out. And letting it out, Jim Bennett does with Cold Comes Through, Book 1 of his five-volume poetry series.

Having read Bennett’s poetry series in reverse order, his first volume—I find—is the most melancholy as it deals with loss, grieving and remembrance. Death hovers nearby, cloaked in autumn leaves, or the heartbreaking throes of Alzheimer’s. But Bennett’s insight into human nature always treats the most dire of his themes with dignity and grace.

After finally reading Cold Comes Through, I know I shall do so again, as I will surely re-read the entire series from time to time. Poetry creates a cultured haven from the blustery world that trammels us daily. Jim Bennett’s poems are some of the best I have had the pleasure ever reading.
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Jim Bennett's 5-Volume Poetry is available here:

Jim Bennett's Poetry Series is also available in Paperback on Lulu:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Review of Regina Jeffers' ANGEL COMES TO DEVIL'S KEEP

Manners, Mayhem, Murder – and Love

...all in the rarefied setting of the British Regency Period.

There are two things I don’t like in a “review.” Spilling the plot so as to become a spoiler; and “I usually don’t read this genre.”
Well, as for the latter, I don’t. Yet, thanks to the author’s deftness in staying “in style” and her flawless writing, I began to enjoy the unraveling story to the point where I was reading instead of doing some previously planned chores.
Having grown up in a somewhat formal European environment, I found it easy to slip into the speech pattern of the British aristocracy with its often painfully reticent demeanor. Trust me, the veiled tongue lashings nevertheless carried a deliciously sharp sting.
It was refreshing to have mayhem and murder heaped upon one without the now sadly so prevalent usage of foul language, nor were there any explicit sex scenes to groan over; however, flowing from the masterful pen of Ms. Jeffers, it all stayed intricately suspenseful and—indeed—exquisitely titillating.
I know how much research it takes to write proficiently about a certain period. Everything has to be correct: mannerisms, speech and clothing, everyday life, titles, social expectations and restrictions as well as locations. As Ms. Jeffers has written many novels in the Regency Romance genre, I suspect by now it may well be second nature to her – and it shows.

No matter what the obstacles, the desires, the ambitions, in the end it all came down to what hasn’t changed over time: The Quest for Love. Indeed, I shut off my Kindle with a satisfied sigh: Well done, Ms. Jeffers. Your readers will be happy with this one.

You can buy your copy at these sites:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Review of "On The Account" by Helen Hollick

A Swashbuckling Voyage


    When the Sea Witch weighs anchor, you better have some Dramamine on hand, for ‘it’s going to be a bumpy ride.’
    In the beginning of On The Account, the fifth voyage of this fine three-mast square rig, its swashbuckling Captain, Jesamiah Acorne, finds himself ignobly languishing in a stinking jail, waiting to be hanged (ironically not for piracy). But preferably, he’d like to be rescued through the magic of his white-witch wife, Tiola. Alas, the lady meets up with her own troubles—and their seesaw rides begin; first separately on land while the Sea Witch lies beached, then together on the high seas.
    Introducing some of the actions and reactions in a fifth book of a series can be problematic for any writer. An author might be tricked into telling too much of what happened before, eager to fill the new reader in, or ignore continuity and simply shrug, ‘hard cheese; should’ve read my previous books.’ Either way, there is the risk of annoying some readers—unless it is handled by a pro, such as Helen Hollick.
    In On The Account, it’s not too much and not too little. This is the first book I have read in the series, and I had no trouble at all in mentally catching up nor imagining what led to the Who, the What and the Why. Apart from the main protagonists, I thoroughly enjoyed Maha’dun, a mythic, intriguing and shamelessly sensuous Night-Walker. That said—and hard cheese notwithstanding—I would much like to ask permission to come aboard the previous voyages.
    The only trouble with this novel was my fear I might run out of it before all was told. With a print book, I can finger the thinness of pages left; with this Advance Reading Copy I was provided by the author, I kept anxiously glancing at the percentage left to read on my Kindle. But all went well. I could finish with a happy sigh. This ride was certainly a bumpy one for all involved—but what a ride it was!
    And I hope to meet Jesamiah on his gallant ship with that marvelously motley crew again, as there was a strong hint of a sixth book, especially when I found “going On the Account” means going back to being a pirate. It’s Jesamiah’s destiny; ours is to find out what happens next.
    In the meantime, On The Account is highly recommended to all those who love a good seafaring yarn spun by an expert storyteller.

There is a marvellous companion article,
written by Helen Hollick on Diana Wilder's blog:

Get your Copy of On The Account directly here:

Twitter: @HelenHollick
Author Page on an Amazon near you:

Friday, June 3, 2016

Deliciously “Subtle” - My Review of The Subtlest Soul

 I have to admit I picked up Virginia Cox’ The Subtlest Soul out of curiosity
(and perhaps a little envy).

We had both been shortlisted for the HNS 2014 Indie Award for Best Historical Fiction. So, I wondered, what made Dr. Cox’ book stand out for the judges among the many great submissions (all of which are worth reading).

Now I know.
While other reviewers here already told some of the plot, I am going to talk about the language: Delicious – and subtle, as the word was used during the Renaissance, the age that produced Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante and ah, let’s not forget the Borgias and Machiavelli.

Subtle then meant to be clever, insinuating, shrewd, artful, tricky and, last but not least, devious. That perfectly fits the handsome young narrator (hence, the title). Of low birth, he compensates by being a bit vain and “subtly” squirms his way into the graces of the powerful but murderous elite. While some of his actions stem from revenge against the murderer of his family, it appears he becomes accustomed to favors bestowed upon him – even though his duplicity leads him into more treachery and great danger.

But it is the language used for young Matteo de Fermo to tell his story. His words burble along like a tranquil brook. Then, before you know it, you are in the midst of the most horrendous battles, ghastly murders, and lusty whoring. Young Matteo talks about it all seemingly devoid of remorse over his actions. The “subtlety” of Ms. Cox’ language made me chuckle quite a few times – how very Machiavellian!

No wonder, “The Subtlest Soul” was the winner. Deservedly, the book also received the hard-to-come-by B.R.A.G. Medallion.
Congratulations to Dr. Virginia Cox for an outstanding novel.