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Monday, July 25, 2016

Mixing it Up

I will read anything. Hand me a newspaper, send me to the library or charge up my Kindle because my taste in books is rather diverse—with one large caveat--, I shy away from vampire stuff, werewolves, most horror and all erotica. But that still leaves me contemporary fiction, sci-fi, steampunk, romance, thrillers, mystery and more—even coloring books for adults. Plus, there are also magazines, non-fiction, literature and memoirs. It may or may not be true but in my heart, I believe that by mixing things up, readers are giving independent writers a better chance. If I owned a bookstore, I’d place bestsellers right next to Indie books on the shelves. Here’s a short collection of some recent reviews.

The great thing about fantasy books is that you have to suspend your idea of reality to grasp the author’s intentions. In this case, Sahara Foley designed an entire parallel universe filled with original creatures and two wayward teenagers in a Dodge Dart. Since I typically enjoy stories that take characters on a journey, I was mesmerized from the beginning and glad I picked this book from all the thousands of books available to read on my Kindle. My favorite sentence came near the end but I don’t think that by sharing it I’d spoil anything: “If the human race is going to survive, we have to stop fighting each other over stupid ideas that don’t mean anything and start working together.” Foley writes her dystopian Eden as a place for some sort of hope and renewal and though Jan and Don enjoy running around without their clothes on like modern versions of Adam and Eve, there’s still the problem of Dad, Mike, Mom and a bunch of Skittou. Not to mention the cops. If you like stories about make believe places filled with imaginary characters, you’ll like this adventure about running away from home.

The Double Whammy is a fishing lure used to catch bass but you don’t need to know anything about fishing or bass to enjoy this Hiaasen thriller. Filled with enough twists and turns to give you whiplash while you speed through pages filled with tons of action and humorous descriptions, this is one of those books you’ll try and read in one sitting. The characters almost sound like people we read about in the news and though the writer’s a bit harsh on women—I have to say I enjoyed the salty misogynistic descriptions peppered and embellished with the awful language commonly used by raunchy men in hot, sweaty and swamp like conditions. While the main character is a private investigator by the name of Decker, I was more interested in the wild man Skink and the evil Reverend Weeb. What a riot. Lots of bad men and naughty women but Queenie is my favorite. Find out what happens at the biggest Bass Blasters Classic but hold on to your outboard engine for one amazing ride through Lunker Lakes.

The Third Servant is a very enjoyable book that pulled me along Ezra’s personal journey from the very beginning. I kept comparing Billington’s writing to Paul Coelho or Og Mandino even Jean M. Auel. But as the story unfolded and the journey progressed, I found superior writing with exactly the type of ‘style’ I enjoy. It’s the story of a poor orphaned servant who seeks justice along his quest for truth. He befriends fisherman, nomads, kings, philosophers and soldiers on his journey. He learns to use a sword, bows and arrows and even learns to negotiate. A caravan master tells him that he has many gifts but that his faith and his brain are his greater gifts. Many times before battle, his faith is confused with confidence while his brains are continually sponging up the local customs and languages of his travels. A journey he feels is the will of God and resistance to it would only be futile, thus he seeks his own destiny. But the battles and losses are wreaking havoc on Ezra’s soul. Romans are a threat unlike anything that he has ever seen before. The rules of battle are changing. He needs an infantry of archers and spear throwers. Being incompetent is not an option—either is losing—will luck be on his side? And in his time of greatest need, will he be ready to put down his sword and surrender? Great book. I recommend it highly.

I used to laugh at the idea of Adult coloring books. After all, there are plenty of things more important to create and perhaps better ways of wasting time. Sometimes however, there comes a time in everyone’s life when we need to relax and create a spa-like, sort of Zen atmosphere. Sounds impossible? Not really, because once you start working on Today is Going to Be a Great Day, all of a sudden the worry dissipates and all you can think about is sharpening your colored pencils. No plot to figure out, no emotional characters to make you sit on the edge of your seat but hours and hours of tranquil fun. As you choose your colors, it will put your mind at ease, clearing out any cobwebs or negativity, so you can meditate while creating art.

I loved this book because it reminded me of all the writing struggles I personally have had throughout the years, some of which consist of bitter truths, underpaid delusions, lofty dreams and inspired visions shared by those who traveled similar roads. In other words, I could relate to the overthinking and the landmines created by others. But Becoming Moon deserves to be a bestseller and is immensely polished and well-crafted prose about a sort of conversion.
After glancing at some of the other reviews about this book, I firmly believe that if you haven’t experienced the agony of writing or thrown your heart into some sort of art, then you might not be able to relate in even an infinitesimal way. Professor Schmidt puts it this way: “We artists are nothing; it is the art. We are only conduits. When the artist becomes the art, the art itself dies.” And those looking for gore and gut wrenching violence might want to steer clear because something evil happens in Becoming Moon that’s worse than a death by hanging for a writer and that’s plagiarism. I applaud Mr. Hart for tackling this delicate, painful subject with inebriated imagery and heartfelt melancholy.
Earlier, there’s a conversation in a bar, “We know nothing.” And that’s when you begin to realize that the main character’s soul is drowning analogous to an actual drowning from the beginning of the book. Then the revival pushes him further down the rabbit hole. Trust? Confidence? Huge issues—and women? Kate, Emily and Chloe have their own agendas that make the writer drink with an updated Hemingway style. Lots of creativity here such as a main character no one calls by name but since it’s in first person, you don’t mind. Until he’s completely lost and you want him to have a name. You want him to believe in God and trust in those words he’s humming. Most likely, you’ll hope as I did, that those bees buzzing outside the cabin window are a sign of hope leading to his newfound faith.

Have you read any great books lately? Do you write reviews?


  1. The Third Servant sounds good.
    I try to leave reviews on Goodreads. Just wish I read faster.

  2. Instead of adult coloring books, I would try some of the paint by number sets. My mom used to do those all the time and I would help her with all the big areas. Very fun stuff!

  3. Good reviews, Eve. I have heard that adult colouring books seem to have a meditative quality to them.

  4. Hello Eve, your reading tastes are very much like my own. I used to read horror stories, but I can’t deal with them now preferring something more interesting but less frightening. The same with erotica, it just doesn't interest me now. A sad statement perhaps but there is so much ‘good’ stuff to read, I can’t waste time on sex – been there, done that!!
    As for colouring books, I love them. I had forgotten just how therapeutic it is to sit and ‘colour in’ but was reminded when my granddaughters came to stay at Christmas. I’m off to read the rest of your reviews now.

  5. What delightful reviews, Eve. I didn't have a favorite genre until I discovered adult coloring books!

  6. I've read some of these books, but all sound interesting! Reading is a struggle for me these days--I do better with audiobooks.

  7. Love the last book's cover. Lately, I've been reading for research purposes.