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Monday, July 27, 2009

The Pact by William Schoell

St. Martin's Press; 1988; 206 pp.

This is a well-written, fast paced story of the horror genre. I received this book through Library Thing's Member Giveaway/Early Reviewer's program. I am grateful to both Library Thing and the LT member who was so kind as to send me this book for the opportunity to read and review it. Reading books that would not have ordinarily caught my attention for a number of reasons (i.e. different genre, odd-sounding title, obscurity, simply not on to-read list due to too many choices) is, for me, a major benefit of this LT program. That is the case with this book, as I usually forego horror novels.

This story disproved my foregone conclusion of horror novels as poorly written, best-to-avoid books. I'm proud to have it as part of my library. It is actually quite captivating and well written, to boot. From a literary standpoint, the language flows smoothly. My interest was captured right away, and I found myself anxious to get to the final climax. It maintains a high level of intensity throughout and turns into quite a nail-biter. The handful of cast members are well developed by the author. A great deal of imagination has gone into creating the beast who threatens to destroy all mankind. Details pertaining to locale and history are well-researched and factual. While there is, indeed, some gruesomeness; it does not run rampant and is really only used to further the storyline. There's even romance to be found in this novel.

I would not hesitate to recommend The Pact to anyone looking for a change of pace, and a clever twist on the age-old good vs. evil drama.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stuffed Panda from a Collection of Short Stories Titled The Jewel **EXCERPT** by Stan I.S. Law


What a beautiful, touching story. So many emotions experienced in such a short space. I found it to be a very well written short story that immediately had my interest captured. I definitely want to read more of Mr. Law's writings.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Have a Crumby Book (a Collection of Wit & Whimsy from Cincinnati's Favority Bakery) by John Eckberg

Clerisy Press; 152 pp.

What a deliciously delightful novelty of a book! WARNING: DO NOT read this book when you are hungry. I often found myself drooling on the pages of photographs of popular billboards depicting some of Busken Bakery's finest baked goods. Their appearance is absolutely mouthwatering! I do wish that I lived much closer to Cincinnati, now. I also wish that I could have had the pleasure of seeing some of these billboards in my travels; but alas, I have not.

There is just enough history of the Busken Bakery and its founders to familiarize yourself with the chain and give you a little background on the baking industry. It was interesting and educational. For instance, I know with 100% certainty that I could never be a baker, since I learned that they get up to go to work at 2:00 a.m.

But, again, the real treat here are the photos depicting the clever advertising slogans full of puns; and most importantly, the delectable baked goods themselves! I'm definitely ready for a trip to Cincinnati now. Oh, that won't be necessary--they have a website that offers shipping of their products.

I'm glad I received this colorful book with the funny name as part of the Goodreads Early Reads program; since I don't think I would otherwise have discovered it. It was a pleasant, quick read and should be especially delightful to those lucky people who have grown up with the Busken Bakery as part of their life. I would like to thank the author, publisher and Goodreads for this treat.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain 1942

United States War Department

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford; 2004; 31 pp.

This is a charming book I received from a dear friend from Devonshire, England. It is a reproduction of an original pamphlet produced by the War Department in 1942. It was meant to give a brief introduction to Britain and its people and some words of advice to the servicemen shipping over to England to join the Allies in destroying Hitler. The writing comes across quaint and nostalgic from the modern perspective.

I actually did learn a little about the geography and demographics of England. The discourse on the characteristics of Britons as seen from the American viewpoint was relatively true to form, I believe, and sometimes humorous as well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How to Train a Rock by author Paul Steven Stone

Blind Elephant Press, 189 pp.

This book was sent to me for review as part of Library Things Member Giveaway Early Reviewers program. Thanks are due to both the author and LT for their consideration.

I'll have to be honest here. I was a little skeptical about this book before reading it. The author describes it as "Short Insights and Fiction Flights". I had no idea I what I was entering into; and expected some kind of off the wall humor, such as that you find in bathroom readers. The first story did not do much to alleviate my concern, as its subject is dog droppings on the front yard. Imagine my surprise, no, perhaps shock is a better term when the fifth story rolled around. Now, we had been leaving humor behind already for some beautiful, lyrical poetry in Listen to the Wind and an emotionally powerful essay on a child abused at the hands of a church leader. But nothing had prepared me for Pretty White Gloves, which is an insight on the descent into hell for a Vietnam War veteran. I was floored. This story kicks you in the guts. I know I have been imprinted with it for life.

From there it was a wild swing of elegantly written articles covering just about everything under the sun. Yes, there was certainly humor. And beautiful emotional articles; most centering around the author's personal life and experiences.

This book is a collection of some of the author's best articles from a long running column of his called "A Stone's Throw". I loved it! The writing is exceedingly good. I recommend it to everyone. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to review this book, or I am sure I would never have discovered it; and I would really have been missing out. This truly is a gem of a book.