Sunday, November 29, 2015

Book review: 'Odd Thomas' by Dean Koontz

Synopsis from Amazon: “The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Meet Odd Thomas, the unassuming young hero of Dean Koontz’s dazzling New York Times bestseller, a gallant sentinel at the crossroads of life and death who offers up his heart in these pages and will forever capture yours. 
Sometimes the silent souls who seek out Odd want justice. Occasionally their otherworldly tips help him prevent a crime. But this time it’s different. A stranger comes to Pico Mundo, accompanied by a horde of hyena-like shades who herald an imminent catastrophe. Aided by his soul mate, Stormy Llewellyn, and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, Odd will race against time to thwart the gathering evil. His account of these shattering hours, in which past and present, fate and destiny, converge, is a testament by which to live—an unforgettable fable for our time destined to rank among Dean Koontz’s most enduring works.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Paper flower chronicles: phase 1 - practice, practice, practice

What happens when yours truly shamefully neglects book blogging for a year? This!

During some recent months of family crises, work stress, rejection-letter overload, and losing-my-mind moments, I found a new thrilling purpose for book pages and a new way to feel productive. At first, it really hurt me to do this because I am so in love with books, but I go on these occasional book-buying binges and always end up with more than one copy of a Star Trek novel. (My impulse buying normally includes a multitude of those.) I didn't want to go return a $1 used book, so I searched for crafty ideas and discovered I am pretty good at making paper flowers. Not only book-page flowers but card stock and other materials. I've gotten better since this photo, but I wanted to show you where it all began. I mean, what better decor for a book lover's house, right? It's lots of fun and stress relieving, which is essential for . I don't see it as destroying an old book, but rather giving it a whole new reason to live. Like I said, I struggled with this for a long time before I could bring myself to tear out those pages.

I also needed a reading/writing break. I was getting overwhelmed.

But none of this means I haven't been been reading. I've actually been reading less fiction and more non-fic on the craft of writing. Let's just say, Writer's Digest had a sale, and I went nuts.

Anyway, here are a few more lovelies from my new hobby. The top one I used as a gift box bow, in lieu of the traditional style bows you get at the store. I decided I am going to always create my own bow style for gifts from now on. The bottom one is a paper flower wreath.

And these are card stock roses. Since I seem to hate free time, I started an Etsy store, and now I'm in the mass production phase, hence the lapse in blogging.

Here's my most recent flower, made this morning.

My current read-in-progress is The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. I'm about a third finished. So I'll let you know how that one ends up.

A happy productive Friday to all.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book review: The Mummy or Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice

Hello all! I know, I know. I've been a less than part-time blogger for a while, but I promise it's for a good reason. I've been doing more reading than writing to strengthen my story-building skills based on inspiration I get from other fabulous works of fiction. Speaking of inspiration gathering, earlier this week, I received word that a non-fiction story I wrote called "A Rose Without a Thorn" will be published in a future Chicken Soup for the Soul book called Touched by an Angel. That will be coming out in October this year! Yay.

I just finished reading The Mummy or Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice, and I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed it.

Synopsis from Amazon: He was Ramses the Damned in ancient Egypt, but awoke in opulent Edwardian London as Dr. Ramsey, expert in Egyptology. He mixes with the aristocrats and samples their voluptuous lifestyle, but it is for his beloved, Cleopatra, that he longs, and will do anything to be with....

If you enjoy some romance and the whole mummy-Egypt-adventure type story, I can't see why you wouldn't enjoy this book. I've always been fascinated by the great pyramids, ancient Egyptians, their art and legends, and discoveries of archaeologists. That's where I'd probably go if I ever got acquainted with time travel. I have to know who built these colossal structures in such primitive times and how!

I read some of the negative reviews on Amazon, and someone was bitching that Rice didn't do good research, bla bla bla. Oh, come on! There's a reason it's called FICTION, people. A writer can twist a story however she wants. In my opinion, she had it close enough for me. OK, so here goes my list of likes and dislikes, and I will warn you: SPOILER ALERT!


  • As I said before, the whole ancient Egypt theme won me from the start. What made it even more enjoyable for me was that Rice managed to meld ancient Egypt into a modern era and illustrate how this might be completely catastrophic. 
  • I love the mix of character, some lovable, some hate-worthy, and others whose personalities and actions simply add to the suspense, such as the law enforcement team following the hot trail of Ramses and Julie Stratford's wayward cousin Henry.
  • I love Anne Rice's writing style. It always gives me great visuals, and her prose isn't long and drawn out. In other words, no TMI, just necessary details and descriptions. 
  • Well-written dialogue. I can't you how many times the dialogue kills a story for me. It's not easy to write believable dialogue. 
  • I'll mention romance in both parts since I have a love/hate relationship with it. I like that it wasn't the main topic of the tale and that it was a weird story with sci-fi elements, as in, an eternal elixir. 
  • Loved that certain twisted characters got what they deserved. 

  • I'm not one for romance, so this was my least favorite part. But at least the heated passion between Ramses and Julie was as non-traditional as one can get! How often does a woman get wooed by an ancient Egyptian king?
  • This was written in the 80s, and she promised a sequel but never wrote one to this day. Not cool. It didn't end huge cliffhanger, but there were still many moving parts of the story left unfinished. For example, Cleopatra. And did Julie ever get into trouble after the museum reps and police entered her home while she was in Egypt and discovered the mummy there wasn't Ramses? Did she even go home? What became of the elixir? The sequel had massive potential. Wonder why she didn't go for it. 
  • It was annoying to me that Julie didn't cry for her father's death as much as she seemed to cry over Ramses and his shenanigans. I can't stand when a female character sobs and sobs for everything. 
  • And even when she was in Egypt, the place of his death and burial, she didn't even hint that she was thinking of him nor did she attempt to go visit his grave or death site. It would have made her character seem stronger to me if she had shown her grief for her father plus her love for Ramses, whom he discovered and inadvertently raised from hibernation. 
I rate this book 4 stars. Now, off to enjoy a rainy day.