Monday, August 31, 2009

A Hemorrhaging of Souls by Nicola Furlong

A Hemorrhaging of Souls by Nicola Furlong

Not everything is as it appears when young girls begin killing themselves at The Perpetual Soul girl's school. Death by self inflicted trama appears to be the case with each victim, but something about these scenarios doesn't settle right with child psychologist Dr. Tempest Ivory or police Constable Patrick Painter. Based on evidence alone no foul play is suspected, and still both Ivory and Painter believe there's a deeper meaning to be found.

The unexplained deaths are worrisome and tragic; however, what is to be uncovered is far more chilling and disturbing. For Dr. Ivory, what she discovers will take her back through years of hidden pain to the most personally troubling time of her life. She's sitting on the opportunity of a lifetime in her singing career, the role of Gilda in Rigoletto. But she does what she does for a reason, and her own past is nothing, if not partially responsible, for putting her here. Her dreams of singing a big role aren't to be forgotten, yet at the moment there's more at stake than pride.

Meanwhile Constable Painter, not without his own emotional baggage, lurks in the wings attempting to cull enough information from the students and Sisters at the Old Soul to determine what is really going on. In twist of fate that neither was expecting, Painter and Dr. Ivory begin to realize their own families' secretive pasts both have a very real connection to the complicated drama unfurling before them. And suddenly, each has more at stake in the case than either initally assumed. With each passing moment, more blood could be on their hands if they can not solve the mystery of what's going on behind the doors of this Vancouver Island girl's school.

Even with all the technical opera talk, which I'll admit got a bit boring because it's not something that interests me, the book itself appears well researched and well written. The ease with which the author threads together the heavy subject matter of suicide, murder, and sexual abuse is remarkable. It's a story that will send chills up your spine and leave you reeling from the savageness of it all. In a day and age where, sadly, these kinds of things are more common place issues than they were many years ago, some readers may find the talk of abuse hitting too close to home. In that alone I would say tread lightly. For outside of that, if you enjoy a good story that presents you with a true-to-life tale that is both shocking and thought provoking, you'll like this book. I know this reader found it hard to put down once the story really got going.

Interested readers should note, A Hemorrhaging of Souls is no longer available for purchase in paperback. The author has informed me, however, that it is currently available in e-book format. Copies can be purchased for $2.99 from any of the following sites, with more sites to offer it soon:

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dad, Dog, & Fish by Charles F. Emery III

Dad, Dog, & Fish: a memoir by Charles F. Emery III

Charles F. Emery III loved his father like no other. Together they became adventurers, making and experiencing many tales worth telling. Now finally having taken pen to paper, Emery has compiled those stories so that others too can know the man he grew up loving.

What you'll find between the pages of Dad, Dog, & Fish are Emery's most notable and entertaining life moments. As he recounts, through each chapter, his life experiences with his father, he not only is able to feel closer to him, but he allows the world to see just how special a man his dad was. Their connection, like most boy's with their father's is not hard to recognize. And the way in which Charles relays his childhood memories, and those from young adulthood, give just a glimpse at what growing up in the Emery house must have been like.

It's always been said that man has no greater friend than his dog. So, it only seems fitting that Emery would choose to dedicate a substantial part of his book to talking about his trusted canine, Bunkie. The yellow Labrador Retriever entered Emery's life during the time he was serving in the US Navy. His adoption was not one that set well with the Missus, but Emery was a sucker for the cuddly little fuzzball. Cuteness aside, it didn't take long to learn that Bunkie's initial calm and adorable demeanor was all a ruse. Yet, despite his many puppy downfalls, and there were plenty, he immediately became Emery's closest friend and companion. A relationship that lasted 14 ½ years.

It wasn't the most finished or polished book, the flow was often choppy, and sometimes the point was lost. And yet, Dad, Dog, & Fish was really a pretty good read. Emery's fine sense of storytelling interfaced with his gift of humor to present an overall smart and charming memoir full of several great lessons and insightful reminders.

My thanks goes to the author, Charles F. Emery III for allowing me this review opportunity.

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

Monday, August 24, 2009

City Above The Sea by Stephen Alan Saft

City Above The Sea And Other Poems by Stephen Alan Saft

In this collection of modern day poetry by author Stephen Alan Saft, we see the conceptualization of today's society and how overpopulation, technology, the environment, and even the basic pleasures of our world rule us all. There are a total of 34 poems written in a combination of free verse, blank verse, and rhyme- each with a distinct voice. Nearly every poem is written with a profound deepness, and often with that deepness comes an undeniable melancholy.

Take for instance Saft's Pushing Forty, found on page 57. This centers on a man examining his life as he gets older, finding that time is passing him by too quickly. Rather than being comfortable in his skin, he runs from the life he knows. Pushing away from family and friends, spiraling deeper into a mid-life crisis, the man abandons his life as he knows it to examine what else it may have to offer. It's possible to look at this and see the positive light, that the man is loooking to fulfil his dreams and not be brushed under the rug like a has been. Yet it's also depressing to think how he must have gotten there in the first place.

Certainly this and the other poems in this book provide food for thought. Even those with a lighter subject matter are full of richness and a unique poetic flair. While I found most of Saft's works to be highly expressive and moving, there was one in particular that stood out to me. This, my favorite among them all, was the third piece. Found on page 21, the arrangement titled The Cucumber Plant to the Sun reads like a love story. Bordering on slightly erotic, this poem examines, in vivid detail, the tryst between a cucumber plant and the sun. Saft expertly crafts the piece around what the cucumber plant is feeling in regards to its relationship with the sun. The expression is intense, and it ignites a personal and emotional stirring. As the cucumber's need and desire to be recognized and loved by the sun is shown, the reader can, in a very real way, relate. There's no denying that the composition emotes what many readers probably feel on a day to day basis, at least at some point in their lives. And the way in which it is presented is fresh and beautifully laid out.

I guess if I had to pick out one single overlying theme or idea expressed throughout this collection, it would be that the author wants to remind readers to never forget about what is to come tomorrow. No matter how many positives or negatives we face in our lives, there will almost always be another day. We, as a people, should strive to take pleasure in the moments we live in; likewise, we should take steps to ensure a good and pleasurable world for all the tomorrows yet to come.

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

Sorry It's Been So Slow

I wanted to take a second to apologize to any readers, authors, and publishers that have been patiently awaiting some new reviews here lately. Summer break really threw my schedule off as I had both my little girls home with me every day. Not a good excuse when you've got blogs to post, but it's my excuse all the same.

Anyhow, school is back in session and I am ready to get back in the swing of things. Today I should be posting three reviews that I've been sitting on while waiting for the chance to pop over here to get them up. I also have another one or two that will hopefully be ready within the week or thereabouts.

So, again, thank you for your patience while I've been slacking. I promise to try to do better in the future! :)