A cliffhanging sequel that can be admired as a standalone., February 16, 2017
This review is from: Maze (Daughter of Darkness Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Some top-class writing is on display from Katya Mills. She picks up the story of Ame, and introduces a new character with Kell, a young woman raised on the Texas border and forced to flee to Oakland. The similarities between Ame and Kell do not end at exile to a new life. Kell acts as both a mirror and new set of eyes for Ame. Meanwhile, we also hear about Maze’s story.
Ame’s bad-boy skater dude love interest has a lot going on beneath the surface, and it’s not all good. Indeed, there’s lots of subtle interactivity in the various relationships we’ve been introduced to over the two-book series. There’s a cliffhanger in this too – but as a standalone slice-of-life involving supernatural beings, this is some great and unique stuff.
The (e)book can be purchased here: MAZE on AMAZON
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed reading Jim Carroll’s movement from all out junkie in NYC to mostly clean weedhead in California then traveling back to NYC to re-experience it like a challenge he was taking on for himself in his new sparkly dried out persona. – may he rest in peace – You almost think the kid didn’t stand much of a chance, hobnobbing with celebrity at Max’s and getting dissed by Warhol over the phone, because Warhol only wanted to talk to him when he was wired on speed (and recorded these phone calls apparently). Great street level perspective of NYC in the early seventies. Jim Carroll is an brutally honest sorta writer, so be prepared to go under carpets with him and hangout with fragments of cheese doodles and mites. Or inside a festering abscess. He certainly won’t glorify substance abuse or addiction, so you don’t need to worry about your children. Or do you? I found the first half of the book a little harder to get through, a lot of socializing with Ginsberg and name dropping (though anyone could be envious to hang out with William Burroughs and Bob Dylan for a night). Sometimes I felt he was writing to impress his celebrity buds. But mostly I admire Jim Carroll, I consider him a strong writer and the survivor we know by his Basketball Diaries. This book was supposed to be a sorta sequel to that one. He didn’t stand a chance as a kid himself going deep on the streets, yet he always respected the muse and was a real creative mind, and a local new yorker in his heart. The second half of the book I found a bit clearer, more honest, and particularly his return from Bolinas to NYC. The last quarter of the book was a straight read, I hunkered down in my apartment and really got into it. It ends well, I mean, more intimate and heartfelt. A good read.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Indestructible is Kristy’s sophomore effort as an indie author and poet. She is beloved for her contributions to social media circles, particularly the poets of ‘G+’ If you follow closely, you can see her evolution. She is experimenting with form and verse in interesting ways. I feel as though I am walking through life with her, and it is not sugar-coated. I appreciate her honesty. “The sun is posing but I don’t have enough tears to cry for a sunny day that does not warm the heart” she says. In other verses, she gives us a fresh take on the gap between rich and poor. You almost feel as though justice has already been served: “I couldn’t buy calm nights with my soul bright as lighter, I couldn’t buy clean days with my heart as cotton tender.” There is exciting talk about nature, and dreaming about nature overrunning the unnatural world and reclaiming it. In her poem “The wind has lost his mind” she personifies nature well to describe her grief. Her expressions are often spare and crystal clear. She opens windows into relationships and little loves of her life. I really love her work. She beckons me to the living of an authentic sorta life. The one and only way to live.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Get a vivid picture of the work camp life in Siberia from a great author who was sent there and subjected to horrors most people could not survive. Solzhenitsyn’s triumph over his bitter and cruel life circumstance gave him a second lease on life, as he made he way to New England and lived out the remainder of his life in respectable fashion, known the world over and cherished for his spirit and writings. The story and history of Russia and Russian literature cannot be whole without mentioning the tragedy of the hundreds of thousands of intellectuals, activists, artists, citizens, and poets who were ‘disappeared’ by an authoritarian regime. This resounding text, The Gulag Archipelago, is a must read to round out the picture – the reality – and honor those who suffered and never made it home. Solzhenitsyn lived to tell, and became not only author but historian. Hopefully after reading this work, you will become excited (as I was) to locate the many other great works of his contemporaries. There is a treasure chest of art, poetry and literature. Brilliant lives, abbreviated and extinguished. One quality will surely be enhanced by reading Solzhenitsyn: a deeper appreciation for the great freedoms of speech and expression!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ponyboy narrates the story of his teenage life within a sewn together band of brothers and young ‘greasers’ in small town America (reminiscent of American Graffiti) who include working class orphans, school dropouts, criminals, athletes. He provides an emotionally-centered account of these trying circumstances for kids on the back side of the mainstream. Desperate times give rise to fierce loyalties, and it’s easy (as a reader) to love Ponyboy and root for him and his friends as they fight the rich kids and steal the hearts of their girls. The action includes drive-ins, cars, turf wars, switchblades, leather, cars, hair, grease, cocacola, madras, cops, heaters, music, ‘weeds’ (smokes), denim, runaways, sunsets, vacant lots. A whole lot of fun as you get to know some of the characters on deeper and deeper levels. Ponyboy’s not afraid to give you his opinion on people and things, and he’s not cool with all the greasers, either, but he sees the good in people when he can. It’s a sweet and tragic story and you might feel it all ends too soon.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Franny and Zooey. What was the book about, anyway, if not about what we do to ourselves in a world of criticism and judgment, when we get carried along that way and lose sight of what our indy purposes are, if not about what happens to a family that was once seemingly so united and celebrated for its little unit of togetherness and genius, when it deteriorates and gets cut up by suicide and sending some to war and leaving the rest to smoke and think and worry and carry on in pursuit of something or in pursuit of not pursuing anything, detachment, if not about the funny window into a messy nuclear home life and the quirkiness of moms and sons and sisters, if not about prep schools and homecoming football games and lunches and fainting spells… if it wasn’t about all that, to me, it was about something a bit more thoughtful, less fanciful, more serious even grave, gravely concerned with how we go about our lives faced with the butchers and fat ladies, the disappointments, the faded dreams and painful realities, the fakers finally unmasked and left with what if i’m a faker too, the horrifying naked truth somewhere… and alot of this was also covered in the Catcher In the Rye, so you know it was Salinger in that little bunker on his property in NH where he stole away for weeks at a time in his infantry boots and clothes, probably touching his dogtags from time to time not knowing day or night, night or day, trying to get off the edges and into the heart of something even if it left him with no peace of mind, celebrated in a world he once wanted to celebrate him then reclused himself from, the painful residuals of an earlier attachment, having to detach but going on writing all the same and living a pretty damn long and pretty well respected, earned kinda life… not caring about being prolific or getting his work out even while he was alive necessarily… and i love that about the man and the work… and what i most love about Franny and Zooey whatever it was about, was the smallness of the book in my hands, and the spareness of the cover, the clever east meets west font… but most of all, just the way the two grown kids got around-about-way to the heart-centered business of helping one another out. That’s what i loved about it most of all.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The book is overall an easy read and almost like watching tabloid television, what with all the misfit mortgage-backed security salespeople and the anecdotal narrative. I had a lot of laughs. It is helpful to hit the ground floor running as there is a lot of industry jargon. I briefly worked an institutional sales floor -in a past life- and you can tell the author was in the business; this is an inside job. I think the character Mark ‘Eggs’ Igino may be a foil for the author. He’s the new guy who seems to have both talent and a conscience, and we hang our hopes on him to maybe find a way out of an ultimately degrading profession. Everyone’s in the game for quick money and devoting a few solid years (body, mind and soul) to ‘the company’ for financial security for themselves and their families. The company gets to treat them like dogshit. They bounce you at any time for any reason with 15 minutes notice. They bark at you like a boot camp drill sergeant. They spy on you and steal your phone records, all in the name of protecting trade secrets. They use your vices and vulnerabilities against you to keep you docile in your chair for 12+ hours a day. The author tracks the lives of several company men and women and they do indeed have the elements of the horror stories we hear about a life in high finance (misogyny, greed, deception, adultery, addiction). All wrapped up in a closed system of money chasing money in an abstract, global, electronic market. One of the telling moments is when Igino demands to hold a real-live paper bond in his hands so he can see what he’s really selling – the company is horrified! Good luck getting out because your ass is owned!