Broketown by David Wheeler is an excellent novel but one not to read if you are in a dark mood. If you feel that life is too routine, that there is nothing in the future that will ever improve on the current condition, that everybody is flawed and the best thing you can do is retreat within yourself and ignore unpleasantness, you are in a dark mood. This book will reinforce those feelings. On finishing this novel, I had an overwhelming feeling of despair. There was also my feeling of sadness about a life wasted in mostly meaningless activities just to fill the time until death arrives to the rescue. After reading this I will move on to a novel with graphic violence and horror just to wake up from the ennui generated by this novel. So it may come as a surprise to read that I liked this novel a lot.
I received One Night by Deanna Cabinian from the author. At first a bit reluctant to read something described as a “coming of age” novel, I am glad I did. I have a category I like to call a “comfort read.” Nothing in it should give offense to anyone (IMHO). It borders on fantasy in that the characters are almost too perfect and, in several cases, too mature in behavior and opinion for their chronological age. In the first few pages, I worried the story would spiral down into sappy, syrupy, sentimental storytelling in a nostalgic search for an imagined perfect past. That did not happen. The tightly controlled crisp writing moved the story along at almost page-turner speed. There are nicely woven reflections on quality of life, the inevitability of death, different perceptions of love (requited and unrequited) and the values of a strong family life. What could have been sappy was rescued by the writers skill into something really good. On an Amazon scale, I gave this a five-star rating, something I have never done with a “comfort read.” I highly recommend this for the YA crowd and will nag my son until he reads at least parts of it.
Kind Nepenthe by Mathew V. Brockmeyer lives up to the claims on its cover in every way. This tale is dark, macabre, terrifying, and suspenseful. And it takes place in California (of course). This is a novel I highly recommend and give it five plus stars with a caveat; it only gets that rating for a selected audience. This is not your YA genre. But for those who like the weird and far out there, this is it, you have arrived. Brockmeyer is very adept at weaving plot and character development with implications and subtle suggestions of what is to come to produce an excellent, fast moving read. With a novel that contains so many dark and twisted characters, the absence of salacious, gratuitous sex is amazing. Whatever sex there is arrives mostly by implication readers have to take responsibility for and look to their inner self-censors.
The Rand Hotel by William Burleson is a 49-page short story primarily about the history of a relationship between a father and his son. During the examination, there is also informed commentary on an urban subculture of Minneapolis, block E. Block E is also the title of a three-volume Burleson collection which includes this story. The collection sells for USD 2.99 on Amazon, this single sells for USD 0.99. I fought off the anxiety of insufficient math skills as I tried to calculate possible savings I had given up by purchasing only this story so I could decide whether I wanted to read all three stories. This story is great with nice twists; I will read the other stories in the collection.
By my calendar, it is 19 August 2017 and it is time to look in on the daily Stephanie Bond submissions creation for each day in August. Downloaded through Amazon’s KU program, I know the story up to the end of August but I will refrain from making comments about situations after August 19 out of respect for those following the daily online posting.
I really like to avoid the immediate visceral reactions to “breaking news” but this has (apologies in advance)”trumped” the North Korea/US chaos-in-the-making. A problem created at home, there will be no appeals to the Chinese, Putin, or the UN. It is not fake news and cannot be answered with hyperbole and empty twitter rants. It is time for children to be reined in or grow up fast.
Stephen Valley is a freshman in high school. Since 7th grade, he has had a crush on Monica Monroe. Ever since they were lab partners dissecting a frog, when he even let her have the honor of popping out the frog’s eyeballs, Stephen has been looking for ways to overcome his shyness and get to know Monica better. Unbeknownst to him, Monica had a similar crush on Stephen and a similar problem in overcoming her shyness. Now that Stephen’s older brother Jude had shot and killed Monica’s older sister Simone, it looks like the relationship might be going nowhere. And that is without counting the six other students Jude has killed as collateral damage.