Thursday, December 4, 2014

Book Review: The Demon Who Peddled Longing by Khanh Ha

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Underground Voices (Nov. 21 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0990433110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990433118

Set in post-war Vietnam, The Demon Who Peddled Longing tells the terrible journey of a nineteen-year-old boy in search of the two brothers who are drifters and who raped and killed his cousin also his girl. It brings together the damned, the unfit, the brave, who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate. Yet their desire to survive and to face life again never dies, so that when someone like the boy who is psychologically damaged by his family tragedy, who no sooner gets his life together after being rescued by a fisherwoman than falls in love with an untouchable girl and finds his life in peril, takes his leave in the end, there is nothing left but a longing in the heart that goes with him. 

About the Author: Khanh Ha
Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh (2012, Black Heron Press). He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and the recipient of Greensboro Review's 2014 ROBERT WATSON LITERARY PRIZE IN FICTION.His work has appeared in Waccamaw Journal, storySouth, Greensboro Review, The Long Story, Permafrost Magazine, Saint Ann's Review, Moon City Review, Red Savina Review, DUCTS, ARDOR, Lunch Ticket, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Tayo Literary Magazine, Sugar Mule, Yellow Medicine Review, Printer's Devil Review, Mount Hope, Thrice Fiction, Lalitamba Journal, and other fine magazines. 

My Review: I found this book to be a refreshing burst of colour   It followed the story of Nam and his quest for revenge.  The story has many twists in the story but a underlying need for him to find the two drifters.  I enjoyed this book and how Khanh was able to depict the Vietnamese river with such detail and precision.  I could easily imagine being there with Nam along the way.  I can see why Khanh has had his work in so many literary magazine as he is able to bring in the reader and help them connect with not only the characters but also the environment.  I would rate this book a 5 out of 5.

Views expressed are those of two children and a Migraine and not influenced in anyway.  No compensation was received for this post.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Book Review: The Widow Smalls and other stories by Jamie Lisa Forbes

Thirty years of browbeating from rancher Bud Smalls has penned his wife, Leah, into emotional isolation,  Now Bud is gone and Leah owns the ranch, but there is no help forthcoming from Bud's brothers who want to force her out and take the ranch for themselves.  

When their attempt to humiliate her instead becomes her opportunity to succeed, Leah begins to find her way back to herself and learns how much she can gain by opening her heart.

The Widow Smalls is just one of the stories in this collection by the WILLA Award winning author of Unbroken, Jamie Lisa Forbes, who writes about the hardships of making a living from the land with an understanding that comes from first-hand experience.  

Her deftly drawn characters include star-crossed lovers, a young rancher facing his first test of moral courage, an inscrutable ranch hand claiming impressive relative, a father making one last grasp for his daughter's love and a child's struggle to make sense in a world around her.  Each will pull you into the middle of their stories and keep you turning the pages.

About the Author: Jamie Lisa Forbes
Jamie Lisa Forbes was raised on a family ranch in southeastern Wyoming.  She graduated from the University of Colorado with honors in 1977 and then lived in Isreal until 1979, when she returned to her family's ranch and raised her own family over the next fifteen years.  Today, she writes and practices law in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She enjoys spending time with her grandsons and playing old time Appalachian fiddle.  With her Arabian horse, Cody, and her cattle dog, Reb, she still devotes part of her life to the outdoors.

My Review: 

This is my first book by Jamie Lisa Forbes and while the stories in Widow Smalls and other stories all have a melancholy feel to them, Jamie has the capability to bring you to a vivid western era long gone and paint a colorful picture of a time since past.  In each story you are inserted midway into a story and shown a piece of someones life as if you are a fly on the all of their life for a short period of time.  I enjoyed reading about the struggles of everyday life and it helped me to appreciate the conveniences we now enjoy that weren't readily available.  These short stories/novellas were equivalent to a teaser trailer would be to a movie...they all left me wanting to know more.  For this reason I give the book a 3 out of 5.

Views expressed are those of two children and a Migraine and not influenced in anyway.  No compensation was received for this post.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: Bob by Tegan Maus

  • File Size: 1673 KB
  • Print Length: 166 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing (September 3, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00NB5V8I4

After 27 years as a newspaper man, Peter Anderson’s career is slipping away, at least it was, until he stumbled upon the story of a lifetime. Sent to do a fluff piece about lights in the night sky over Arizona, he discovers far more than he ever expected when he comes upon a mysterious young woman held prisoner in a basement. After helping her to escape, she disappears before he can learn the truth about who she is or where she came from. His search for her leads him back to the lights in the sky and leaves him with more questions than answers. The only thing he knows for certain . . . the only thing he can count on are the two words offered repeatedly by his friend and guide . . . “IS BELT.

About the Author:

My wife of forty two plus years and I live in Cherry Valley, a little town of 8,200 in Southern California. In that time, I've built a successful remodeling /contracting business. But that's just my day job... everyone that writes... everyone who tells you how to write, all say the same thing.... write about what you know... and what I know... is me. 
Well, at least the me I see when I write... an... alter ego of myself that gets frequently wedged between a rock and a hard place but manages to work things out at the last minute after all. Like most of us when pushed into a corner it only brings out the best in us and we become the unstoppable force of a reluctant hero... at least on paper, making the day to day a little more tolerable. If I have a signature style for creating a character then this is it.  

My Review:  

What an entertaining read!! I kept turning pages early into the morning just to figure out what was next with "one more chapter". The quirkyness of Bob mixed with the rigid reporter type of Anderson was such a great combo.  I will admit it was a bit on the science fiction side in my views but it still made for a great evening into morning of reading.  I found the complex details of the story such as the clock shop back room of tanks intriguing and the dynamic relationship buildup between Andy and Emma was fun to read.  I thoroughly enjoyed how every difficult situation (there were a few)Andy and Bob got into...Bob always had another cousin to help...and clearly they weren't all blood related cousins.  I would be interested to know where this story keeps going and I sure hope this story has another book.  I think Bob needs a more detailed background for the next book...this would be entertaining but as I am not an accomplished writer myself will reserve my judgement to the readers out there. 

 I am going to rate this book a 3 out of 5 as I am not a huge fan of the sci-fi books without a romance but the read was quite fun regardless.

Views Expressed are those of Two Children and a Migraine and have not been influenced in anyway.  A book was supplied for review purposes and no compensation was received for this post!