In Wax and Fire ~ Daniel Tobin

schrodingers_cat

In Wax and Fire

For Schrödinger’s cat,
and for Jeoffry, Ollie, and Zero, poets’ cats

The dead cat bristles inside its box.
The live cat curls inside the dead cat’s bones.
Galaxies roll through unimagined zones.
Uncertain eyes scan light’s divergent tracks.

Inside the box a hammer stuns the flux
And poison flares along the dying tone.
The dead cat bristles inside its box.
The live cat curls inside the dead cat’s bones

For what might be seconds, might be eons,
While atoms ricochet through space like jacks,
And what is is woven through the helix
Of what’s not. Is it here or is it gone,

The dead cat bristling inside its box?
A live cat curls inside the dead cat’s bones.

DANIEL TOBIN

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Review: A-Z Poetry: Fruits and Veggies ~ Kaelah Mickelle

A-Z Poetry

A-Z Poetry: Fruits and Veggies is a collection of 26 highly creative and entertaining acrostic poems. With visually captivating illustrations and rhyming verse, learning the alphabet is now more fun! As an added bonus, each poem provides a clever mnemonic device that aids in teaching children how to spell their fruits and veggies.

 

4 Thumbs-UpWhat a great little book that serves a dual purpose.

If you are looking for a novel way to teach the alphabet to younger children, this may be just the book you are looking for; and not just the alphabet, this book also provides a wonderful way to introduce the often daunting topic of poetry into their lives.

Filled with wonderful illustrations that help the young reader or those being read to understand the poetry, this book would make a great alternative to the usual bedtime story.  The poems in themselves are different to some anyone picking this up maybe used to, as each follows a mnemonic that helps in the teach the spelling of the particular fruit or veggie you are reading about.  With this said, maybe I should amend my original statement of it serving a dual purpose.

As well as educating it also helps young children realise that they are not the only one who may have issues regarding bedtime for example, and it does this in a light-hearted manner that most children will be able to relate to.  Combine this with images of items that many children have in their own homes and the result is a book that children and grandchildren alike will feel has been written just for them.

Containing rhyming verse and haiku I could not think of a better way to introduce my grandson to poetry.  However, I did have several issues with loading this book both on my Kindle and on my PC, and I could see that this would cause issues with an impatient child eager to delve into new pages, along with the fact that it is only 15 pages long I felt it was a little over-priced for what it is, and this resulted in my 4 thumbs review.

I would highly recommend this book to those who are wanting new and interesting ways to teach young children about spelling, the alphabet and poetry.

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Isak Dinesen

April 17, 1885:

Isak Dinesen is born

Karen Dinesen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke, better known by her pen name Isak Dinesen, is born in Rungsted, Denmark. Dinesen’s memoir, Out of Africa, helped demystify the Dark Continent for millions of readers.

Dinesen was born to an upper-class Danish family. Her father committed suicide when Dinesen was 10, ending the happiest period of her childhood. She began writing plays and stories and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where she developed an interest in art.

When her family sent her to Oxford to study English, she rebelled and went to Paris and Rome to study painting. In 1914, she married her cousin Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, and the couple moved to what was then British East Africa (now Kenya), where they owned and operated a coffee plantation. While the unhappy marriage dissolved in 1921, Dinesen fell passionately in love with Africa and remained to manage the plantation for a decade. In Africa, she was a lively and extravagant hostess, fond of throwing lush dinner parties for her friends-parties which laid the basis for her 1949 story, Babette’s Feast, which was filmed in 1987.

Drought and a crash in coffee prices forced Dinesen, penniless, back to Denmark in 1931. She began publishing short story collections with Seven Gothic Tales (1934), followed by Out of Africa in 1937, which brought her recognition and respect. She published several other story collections before her death, in 1962.

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Ten Teen and Young Adult April Book Releases

I know I’m late with this post this month, but believe me the ten Teen/YA books due for release during the last two weeks of this month are well worth the delay.  Some are hard-hitting, some are scary and some just make you want to chuckle out loud.  Whatever your tastes, I hope there will something listed here that will make you either reserve a copy at your library or make them a permanent resident on your bookshelves, I know there are a couple I’m going to be reading.

not invisibleTitle ~ She Is Not Invisible
Author ~ Marcus Sedgwick
ISBN ~ 978-1596438019
Publisher ~ Roaring Brook Press (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ 12 – 17 years
Grade Level ~ 7 and up

Description – Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers–a skill at which she’s remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.

SummerTitle ~ Summer State of Mind
Author ~ Jen Calonita
ISBN ~ 978-0316091152
Publisher ~ Poppy (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ 12 and up
Grade Level ~ 7 and up

Description – Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper’s parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.

Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can’t climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp “Lifer” Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends–and stay out of trouble–she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.

InventorsTitle ~ The Inventor’s Secret
Author ~ Andrea Cremer
ISBN ~ 978-0399159626
Publisher ~ Philomel (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ 12 and up
Grade Level ~ 7 and up

Description – Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery

Night and fogTitle ~ Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author ~ Anne Blankman
ISBN ~ 978-0062278814
Publisher ~ Balzer + Bray (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.  And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

TalkerTitle ~ Talker 25
Author ~ Joshua McCune
ISBN ~ 978-0062121912
Publisher ~ Greenwillow Books (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – It’s a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune’s debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.

shadowsTitle ~ In the Shadows
Author ~ Kiersten White
ISBN ~ 978-0545561440
Publisher ~ Scholastic Press (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ 12 and up
Grade Level ~ 7 and up

Description – From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

drowningTitle ~ The Drowning
Author ~ Rachel Ward
ISBN ~ 978-0545627719
Publisher ~ Chicken House (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – Water, water, everywhere: His brother has drowned, but Carl can’t remember a thing. Until it all comes flooding back…with a vengeance.

With a jolt, Carl opens his eyes. He’s on the bank of a lake, soaked to the bone. Rob, his brother, is being zipped up in a body bag. And a girl, drenched and trembling, is talking to the police. Who is she? What happened in the water? And why can’t he remember any of it?
“Bring her to me . . .”
At first Carl thinks it’s his grief speaking. Remembering Rob. The sound of his voice, things he used to say.
“Bring her to me . . .”
But then Carl starts to see him. Rob’s face in the water before it washes down the drain. His ghost rising up from the puddles. His hands clawing out of the moldy, rain-rotted walls. Like a dripping tap, he won’t stop.
“Bring her to me!”
Rob may be dead. But he’s not gone. Because he wants to finish what he started, and he won’t go under alone.

teaseTitle ~ Tease
Author ~ Amanda Maciel
ISBN ~ 978-0062305305
Publisher ~ Balzer + Bray (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – Emma Putnam is dead, and it’s all Sara Wharton’s fault.

At least, that’s what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma’s shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who’s ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media.

During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she’ll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.

sleepTitle ~ Sleep No More
Author ~ Aprilynne Pike
ISBN ~ 978-0061999031
Publisher ~ HarperTeen (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – Oracles see the future but are never supposed to interfere. Charlotte learned that the hard way. If she hadn’t tried to change one of her childhood visions, her father would still be alive. Since the accident, Charlotte has suppressed her visions to avoid making the same mistake. But when she receives a premonition of a classmate’s murder, she can no longer ignore her powerful gift.

Then Charlotte meets someone who not only knows her secret but who also has a way for her to stop the killer. He offers to teach her how to manipulate her visions to change the future. But doing so will put Charlotte in the path of the murderer.…

takingTitle ~ The Taking
Author ~ Kimberly Derting
ISBN ~ 978-0062293602
Publisher ~ HarperTeen (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

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Review: The Demon Hunter Saga (Demon Hunter #1-3) ~ Cynthia Vespia

Demon HunterThe acclaimed fantasy series comes together in one epic saga. Do you know what horrors lie beyond these pages? Costa Calabrese has just uncovered the truth about his past. Some truths should never be revealed. When you learn you’re the son of the worlds foremost and feared hunter of demons, life’s rules inevitably change. Now Costa has been chosen to walk in his famed father’s footsteps and take up the role his bloodline demands of him…whether he wants to or not. He is a killer of killers, laying waste to the scourge of evil that threatens the existence of mankind. He is the chosen one. He is the DEMON HUNTER.

2 Thumbs-UpUsually the best thing an Author can do, in my mind, is publish a trilogy they have written all together in one edition.  Not only does this save space on my groaning bookcases, but it also means that, should I really get into the trilogy I’m not running all over trying to track down the remaining books; unfortunately this was not the case here.

To start with the entire book is only 393 pages long, to me that is not a trilogy in the true sense of the word, it is just three short stories containing the same characters published together.  Those characters to me were very one-dimensional and it seemed as if the Author were trying to breathe life into something they played when they were younger.  The main protagonist was just unbearable and I couldn’t connect with him at, and because of the constant mood swings and changing of his loyalties, I actually began to wonder if maybe there was a long running typo of the leading ‘s’ not being printed in the book whenever he was mentioned.  It was as if the Author intended him to be male, but then lost their way and gave him too many of the irritating traits we women have; add to that the teenage angst and he was the most unlikable main character I have read in a while.  Even the villains were really not villains; they were easily dispatched back to wherever they came from showing no real threat to anyone in particular.

The storylines in all of the books were predictable and, any reader who enjoys fantasy as their usual fare will be able to figure out what is going on way before the Author lets us in on the plot. I felt an element of surprise and a bit more care taken when drafting this storyline would have elevated it to a different level.

The main reason though that this trilogy received a 2 thumbs review rating is brought to you courtesy of bad editing.  There were so many typos and inconsistencies throughout all three books, that in places they actually changed the meaning of the passage being read, or made that particular part of the plot laughable.  A good proof-reader and editor could have pointed this out to the Author, which in turn would have resulted in a book that was more plausible.

I so wanted to really like this trilogy but, unfortunately, in the end it just wasn’t for me.  If you’re at a loose end and want to take a look at this I’m not going to recommend otherwise, but be warned it may not be as good as you think.  I may try reading something else by this Author to see if the errors in this one were just that their skills had not been honed yet, so I’m not entirely giving up on them.

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Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane ~ Neil Gaiman

 

oceanSussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

4 Thumbs-UpWhat can I say about this book; I brought it home from the library and sat down to read, only realising when my Husband walked in from work that I had not only spent a whole afternoon reading, but that I had also finished this book.  Yes, it is that good.

This book doesn’t give itself to my usual review style, I can’t place it in one genre or another and know it will be comfortable there; the characters within its pages do not lend themselves to analysis and, this left me with a quandary as to how to review it.

One thing that is central to this book is a feeling of loss, not in the convention ‘someone died’ sense, but a mourning of things gone by, a simpler time when nothing was expected of us, and I suspect that any reader that picks this up will feel that loss as they progress through the book.  It permeates each page and pulls the reader into it without any indication it is going to let go until it has fulfilled its purpose.

I have read only two works previously by this Author, The Sandman Collection and Good Omens, so I thought I was going into these pages with a slight grasp of what this Author is capable of; I was so mistaken in that sense. This book was like nothing I had ever read before, whether penned by this Author or someone else.  I know there are more skilled reviewers out there that will probably have written, or are writing, a complete breakdown on character development, writing style, the whole nine yards, but to me this would have been an almost impossible task, as I feel in doing so I would have had to reveal so much about this novels contents there would have been no need for any other reader to open its covers.

I know this review seems very much a ‘cop-out’, and I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone reading it thinks I have been rambling on about something I have not read; this is not the case.  There is an old saying that goes ‘if you love something set it free…’  I loved this book and to try to capture it totally in my words would have felt like keeping a free spirit in a cage and watching it wither, I just couldn’t do.

My reasoning behind giving this book a 4 thumbs review, and not the 5 thumbs readers may think I should have awarded it is; when I closed the back cover and looked at it on my lap, apart from feeling like I had been transported out of my reality into another the main thought in my head was’ that’s it?, it can’t end like this’.

I highly recommend this book to readers from teens upwards, and anyone who is a Gaiman fan.  Prepare to lose an afternoon, or an evening, and be prepared for the jolt you will receive at the end.

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Where the White Rose Blooms ~ Kelly Deschler

 

white-rose1

Where the White Rose Blooms

The single white rose captured the old gardener’s attention,
He lovingly cared for it, like it was his own grand-daughter,
The roses were just like family and friends in his eyes,
He gave them bright sunshine, and plenty of fresh water.

He had always planted roses in reds, yellows, and pinks,
Yet, it was the one white rose that he favored most,
The old gardener admired it’s innocence and elegance,
A quality that the other roses just could not boast.

This precious rose was pure white, like new fallen snow,
Which only a cold, late November day could bring,
It’s delicate petals were soft to the finger’s touch,
Similar to that of a feather, in an angel’s wing.

The old gardener was perplexed and astonished,
Only this rose bloomed through spring, summer, and fall,
Each of the other roses had withered months ago,
The frost and cold weather did not affect it at all.

With a smile, the old gardener took one last look,
Unknowingly, death would soon come without warning,
After he had settled down for a nap in his chair,
He drew his last breath, later on that morning.

His funeral was held on the very next day,
Loving words were spoken, as he was laid to rest,
His grand-daughter approached, with tears in her eyes,
As she placed the single white rose upon his chest.

The cemetery was a quiet and peaceful place,
Where family and friends gathered to remember,
A gentle snow began to fall upon the casket lid,
Brightening the gloom on this final day of November.

The old gardener’s soul departed from this earth,
Lead away by a choir of angels, on delicate wings,
Then on through the pearly gates of heaven’s garden,
Where the white rose still blooms, in eternal springs.

Kelly Deschler