Sunday, July 31, 2011


Every Shallow CutEvery Shallow Cut by Tom Piccirilli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Review "on the fly":

A dark "Noirella"....a meditation on personal and professional failure....Marriage gone bust...Career permanently on the rocks (save the twist)

Our nameless hero is homeward bound, reluctantly....after a failed marriage and a the company of his bulldog Churchill

Lots of pent up rage, accompanied by a case of know this guy is circling the drain.

At first, I would have called this a Stephen King type Road Novel....given his penchant for exposing the Hell that writers endure to serve their craft...on second thought..the only Horror here, is our protagonist's dilemma, being so out of touch with what is generally perceived as Reality...yet being so in touch with his own pain and frustration (if that makes any sense) that his vision is blurred, to say the least....

After a corner beat-down, he acquires a gun...Homeless and raging...he's homeward bound to a brother who probably doesn't want him around any way

If this seems's nothing compared to the short sharp ending....which i won't give up...let's just say "suicide or the highway"

This book packs a wallop in 175 pages...not for the fain if heart...

The only other book i have read by Mr A Choir of Ill Children...which was more of a Southern Gothic...and a lot creepier

I give this book 4 Stars...because it smacked me upside the head with its wit, heart, violence,and craft

This was a Net Galley....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The Handbook for Lightning Strike SurvivorsThe Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More NOTES, as it were:

Lightning streaks in the sky, running parallel until they finally converge, in the distance/future

Two lives.....Becca Burke and Buckley Pitank...two kids trying to grow up with dysfunctional families and the odd lightning strike

Becca: with a love-struck alcoholic mother and a philandering father...still very much a Daddy’s girl...struck by lightning, the first time at age 8. Of course, no one believed her, because she wasn’t dead

Buckley: with an overweight, loving mother...a hard-hearted Grandma...and, later, an abusive stepfather...the Preacher Man-of-God.....after his mother takes them both away from all that, he still thinks he’s unworthy of love and takes his own mental beatings...Mom is killed by a lightning strike...Buckley pens an eponymous Handbook

Becca reads the book, they meet but don’t fall in love. Young adulthood is a bitch...Buckley finally gets his own Lightning Strike and all ends well, more or less, in hospital

Life is messy and painful, with occasional flashes of bliss.....clear and sharp as lightning bolts and just as fatal

I know i’ve given up a bit of the story here, but that isn’t what carried this case it was the prose...the words. For a first novel this one is a joy...takes a while to get started but is worth the effort. Ms Young-Stone is, in fact, a lightning strike survivor...i’d like to think that “bolt” contributed to her talent.....the fluidity of these words...

Highly recommended

4 Stars (****)

*This was from Net Galley*

Monday, July 4, 2011

Conundrum or Dilemma?

Hester: A NovelHester: A Novel by Paula Reed

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A woman returns to London, after a sojourn in The Colonies, with her precocious, and wealthy, 8-year-old daughter. After settling in with old friends, she finds herself in the midst of the political machinations of Oliver Cromwell's England.....due to a certain "gift" of "seeing into the hearts of men".....her ability to spot lies and treason, while retaining her womanly propriety..While employed as such a Judge, she meets a hunky Sir John, who is playing both ends against the middle, politically. He's also pretty much of a libertine...Life continues...Cromwell "falls" and dies. The precocious daughter matures into a "boy crazy" drama queen, ultimately landing an "impossible" match.....marriage-wise. she hies of to Germany, pregnant but "in love"....satisfied to be a "kept woman" all her life..Mother returns to The Colonies....the site of her own past "sins"

This would be a pretty good Historical Romance, for those who fancy such, if not for the overt reference to The Scarlet Letter and the character of HESTER PRYNNE.

For one thing, any woman in possession of such a 'gift", as mentioned above, would more than likely have been condemned as a Witch and dispatched without qualms, or a trial. She would never have been given a seat in Oliver's STAR CHAMBER.

The back alley skulking betwixt her and Sir John probably did occur, but people made an art of Discretion in those days.....being Puritans and all

The intrusion of modern attitudes towards boys/men and sex were pretty un-subtle and annoying

I had a difficult time making a connection between Ms Reed's Hester, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's original...though I haven't read the original SCARLET LETTER in years, I seem to recall that Hester as being more of a slow burn.

With all of the historical detail present in this book, I am surprised at the anomalies I have mentioned. I found them to be rather jarring.....and a distraction from the story Ms Reed was trying to tell..Maybe that's my fault....but if the book had just been titled HESTER without the reference..i think it would have "gone down" easier

My rating:
4 stars for the story
3 stars for the delivery
3 1/2 stars total

* I got this book through the Library Thing EARLY REVIEWERS program*