Monthly Archives: May 2014

JUST FINISHED: Animal Dreams


Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Simply stated, I love Kingsolver’s writing. The wordsmithing is seamless and each part softly wades into the next.

I think it just comes down to how she is able to describe things. And not just physical things, I’m talking about emotions, feelings, thoughts, and more on the inner side of the human being.

This particular novel explores the damaged life of our anti-hero, Codi (Cosima) as she comes back to her childhood hometown to help her ailing father. She has stayed far away from her hometown, remembering it to contain foul memories of her past and people that she believe wanted to forget her and her them. In fact, as the novel will show you, she has been running from life for quite some time.

The novel’s main arcing theme is Codi’s search for finding herself and her happiness. Her inner search continues on through the many challenges that life throws and as her heart is pulled in several directions (not talking just a love story here).

I think another noteworthy fact is Kingsolver’s vibrant imagery of depicting the culture and life of Hispanic and Native American peoples in this region of the States. She goes through the hierarchy of the families, different ceremonies, and even has historical bits that are very intriguing. Granted, I don’t know how much of that is fiction and how much is true, but it makes the novel that much more vivid and beautiful.

If you are a fan of complex, poetic writing and find the journey of a person to their true happiness and full potential of love appealing, then you will enjoy this one!

Advertisements

YOUR ROCKY SPINE – Great Lake Swimmers

For my first post in my new category, Music, I’ve picked Your Rocky Spine by the Canadian band Great Lake Swimmers from the album Ongiara.

The Great Lake Swimmers are considered a folk rock band and have been around since the early 2000s. I’ve been playing this particular song on replay for the past week or so. Tony Dekker, the lead singer and writer for the band, has a rounded, soft voice that I find both alluring and soothing.

Dekker’s lyricism is beautiful on this one combined with a sweet melody and some plucks from the banjo. It’s debatable on what the song is truly about. I personally believe he is romantically speaking of the features of mountains, expressing a full devotion to the power that is nature. But, it could also be taken as speaking metaphorically about a certain person in his life.

I can’t say I have any favorite lines or parts since I love the entire song, but I will say I have two hanging moments in this song. The first would be in the beginning with the repetitive emphasis on “that your body makes.” I love the way he pulls the words, dragging out what is surely a hard stated point to him.

The second is the verse dealing with the resolution of the song, saying that we are from the clay for the earth to display. The music takes it all the way down to just the kick-drum bass, making a clear path for the words to come through.

The link to the lyrics and music video are below. Take a listen and breathe it in.

Lyrics: http://www.metrolyrics.com/your-rocky-spine-lyrics-great-lake-swimmers.html

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ6W_cq-zQ0

NEW ADDITION

Greetings! So I have decided to add another juicy tidbit to my blog. What is it going to be about, you ask? Well, if you haven’t already noticed the menu changes, I’ve slid in a new category named “Music.” If you’ve read some of my poetry, you may have already picked up on the undertones playing tribute to one of my first loves throughout. I have a fiery passion for music that stretches just as far as my love for writing. And thankfully, the two happen to go hand in hand quite well.

I will be sharing with the blogging community the multitude of songs that have found me over time and one’s that I keep falling into. I’m not a single genre type of gal, so don’t expect the same thing every time around. If you could see my iTunes library, you would understand. Immediately.

Now before I began with these posts, I feel the need for a short disclaimer. If I like a song and think it is the most fantastic thing ever, it doesn’t mean you will. I believe that in some ways music is in the mind of the beholder like art is to the eye. There are songs that I will listen to that move me to point that I feel like I cannot breathe until they hit the next note and that same song is one that a good friend would ask, “Can we skip this one? I think it’s a little on the slow side. Too mellow.”

That’s not to say there isn’t bad music out there. Very bad music. Music that kills souls. Is it Friday anyone? No worries there, I won’t ever strive that far to catch your ear.

Before I go back to the artist that has held me in their arm’s all week, I want to wish you all happy blogging and reading! I’m excited for this new chapter and can’t wait to begin sharing with you!

LONLINESS

I hear the wind swishing, yelling in the night.

What’s out there? I wonder, where it’s not so bright.

It forces the trees to sway, tapping on the glass.

Is that a ghost? I wonder, a ghost from my past?

I head down the stairs, my candle lifted and my heart unprepared.

I saw you in the moonlight, a body of stone with your eyes aglow.

You were a goddess to marvel, a beauty of gold.

I couldn’t move my eyes from you, a streak of perfection in a world of none.

You were glorious, more luring than the sun.

Oh, do you tempt me? I move closer still.

My mind outlining you, engraving the memory with all my will.

A streak of lighting suddenly flashed the day, illuminating every piece of you.

All shadows at bay.

And while my heart began weeping at a joy I cannot fathom,

You were gone, leaving within me a dark chasm.

A cold blanket of air soon filled the room; the wind began again to screech.

The dark night resumed.

NAMELESS

He had watched the girl for some time now; through the dark toned glass. She loved walking a circle around her rug, like a zoo animal making their daily path.

Her dark hair had grown longer, the edges splintered and ragged. She had refused to have it cut, instead letting it tangle and droop lazily around her small face.

She sat on the bed and began mutely reading a children’s book that the nurse had given her. Her legs dangled just inches from the ground.

The room they had given her was rather large. They had thought that a child needed places to play. He still believed that she was no child.

The room instead forced a false innocence on her. A bed spread with pink squares and smiling flowers. Walls painted a cheery yellow. Colored boxes for toys neatly stacked in a corner. Framed photos of rainbows and horses dotting the walls.

He smirked. This room was too clean.

He sat down at a table, still facing the glass and began reviewing the nurse’s log for the day. What she had eaten, what she had said, any strange behavior that was noticed. All was standard, just like the day before and sure to be like the day next. One day she would slip, he knew it. They didn’t call in one of the top psychologists just to pamper the public’s opinion.

He lightly tapped on the cool glass top watching how she would read each page. Her small hand tracing the book’s lines, her eyes gazing deeply into its pages. Every few minutes the page would flip and anxiety would cross over her as if the split second was too long to wait for the next word.

She had been found wandering the local park alone. A woman on a late evening jog had crossed paths with her and was quickly disrupted by the exterior state of the girl.  Her only clothing item was a thin white dress. The girl’s bones were visible under her dirty skin, making her figure angled and sad. She carried nothing with her and would not speak. The woman had embraced her and told her she would take her to a safe place. When she had let go, she pulled back to realize that her hands were drenched in a ruby liquid. The whole backside of the girl was covered in blood.

Everyone wants to know what happened. What happened to that poor little girl? That poor little girl that the news painted as a tragedy?

He huffed, thinking of what he had heard over the last week. All of the ridiculous past stories that the world has discovered from the woodworks.

She was doing it again, staring at the blank wall. The book had been carefully laid on her bed and she had slowly walked over. She stood tall patiently watching the surface. Her hands crossed behind her back, left over right.

He noticed the time, five in the evening exactly. Every day she did this little ritual, placating herself for an hour with the wall. He had talked to her about in their sessions, but she would never budge. She would avert her eyes to his window and bite on the interior of her lips. She would ignore him from that point on, refusing to speak again until the next day.

But today he was ready for it. During her lunch hour a few days before he had had a projector rigged on the ceiling. He had known the change would alarm her, even if she showed no outward signs. So he waited until she would forget, having the staff explain that it was just another camera.

He pulled out a remote and clicked the projector on. He had set up pictures from the night she was found to project right in front of her. It was daring to do this to a patient and likely against some overall moral code, but he needed to get to her. To rip her open and expose the ugliness that he believed she had buried inside.

He dimmed the lights in the room and watched as her eyes widened. He could see the weariness ripple across her face. This was already more than he had hoped for.

Then, without warning, she let out a piercing scream.

JUST FINISHED: A Killer Plot

Author: Ellery Adams

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Well, I made it about sixty percent through this book. So what went wrong?

The book begins with an intriguing but snooty lead character with a jagged childhood and now, much older, lives off the wealth (and continued growth of wealth by her own doing) from an aunt. She is single, proud of it, and her greatest friend is her loyal poodle.

She is trying to write her first novel and ends up joining a group of beginning novelists that meet weekly and critique one another’s in-progress books. To not divulge further into the plot, a murder eventually happens in what is normally a small, sleepy coastal town to which the lead herself feels propelled to help solve.

While I believe this book does have an interesting plot that could certainly take on many angles, my biggest problem lied within the writing and characters themselves.

Starting with the characters; they just came off as a cookie cutter people. You have the bedazzling gay man, the dark punk, the shy guy (who likes the dark punk), the “I can do everything” mommy, the waitress with an edge, the swanky bookshop owner, the soft cop, and the list goes on and on… Not one of these characters step outside of their boundaries, always swaying into their very defined roles in the way that they acted and spoke.

I cannot stand it when you put characters in a box. Real people (well, a majority of real people) do not behave that way, so why should your characters? I don’t know; maybe for some people that is a forced point and it is intended, but for me it’s a real Debbie-downer.

It took me a good four weeks just to get to sixty percent thanks to the writing. I found it really hard to get into this novel due to the unnecessary level of detail and information that the author uses. Let me show you an example:

“Satisfied with her appearance, Olivia slung the bag containing her clothes onto the chair in her office and marched out to the dining room to meet her guest. Chief Rawlings stood at the bar, a martini glass in his hand. He and Gabe were engaged in casual conversation and Olivia reflected that most people seemed completely at ease in the lawman’s presence.”

We were previously told that she left a change of clothes for herself in the office and then this paragraph hits a few later. Is it not obvious that clothes would be in her bag? Do I need to know that she put them back in the office, specifically in a chair? We are stung again by how easy people seem around the lawman (this is very repetitive in the novel). I think the paragraph sounds better like this:

“Satisfied with her appearance, Olivia marched out to the dining room to meet her guest. Chief Rawlings stood at the bar, a martini glass in hand, lightly talking to Gabe.”

Loaded paragraphs like the author uses just make it really difficult for me to keep going. I’m not a fan of unnecessary information. If you like mysteries with predictable people and glossy details, go right ahead with this one. Otherwise, maybe the next one I’m reading will be for you (Kingsolver tends to never fail!)