Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guest Post: Deep Down Things by Tamara Linse

Title: Deep Down Things
Author: Tamara Linse
Publication Date: July 14th, 2014
Publisher: Willow Words
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 330
Word Count: 75,000
ISBN: 9780991386734

Synopsis (from Author): Deep Down Things, Tamara Linse’s debut novel, is the emotionally riveting story of three siblings torn apart by a charismatic bullrider-turned-writer and the love that triumphs despite tragedy. 

From the death of her parents at sixteen, Maggie Jordan yearns for lost family, while sister CJ drowns in alcohol and brother Tibs withdraws. When Maggie and an idealistic young writer named Jackdaw fall in love, she is certain that she’s found what she’s looking for. As she helps him write a novel, she gets pregnant, and they marry. But after Maggie gives birth to a darling boy, Jes, she struggles to cope with Jes’s severe birth defect, while Jackdaw struggles to overcome writer’s block brought on by memories of his abusive father. 

Ambitious, but never seeming so, Deep Down Things may remind you of Kent Haruf’s Plainsong and Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.


Chapter 1


Jackdaw isn’t going to make it. I can tell by the way the first jump unseats him. The big white bull lands and then tucks and gathers underneath. Jackdaw curls forward and whips the air with his left hand, but his butt slides off-center. Thirty yards away on the metal bleachers, I involuntarily scoot sideways—as if it would do any good. The bull springs out from under Jackdaw and then arches its back, flipping its hind end. 
Jackdaw is tossed wide off the bull’s back. In the air he is all red-satin arms and shaggy-chapped legs but then somehow he grabs his black felt hat. He lands squarely on both feet, knees bent to catch his weight. Then he straightens with a grand sweep of his hat. Even from here you can see his smile burst out. There’s something about the way he opens his body to the crowd, like a dog rolling over to show its belly, that makes me feel sorry for him but drawn to him too. With him standing there, holding himself halfway between a relaxed slouch and head-high pride, I can see why my brother Tibs admires him. 
I haven’t actually met Jackdaw before, but he and Tibs hang out together a lot, and they have some English classes together. I haven’t run across him on campus.
The crowd on the bleachers goes wild. It doesn’t matter that Jackdaw didn’t stay on the full eight seconds. They holler and wolf-whistle and shake their programs. Their metallic stomping vibrates my body and brings up dust and the smell of old manure.
With Jackdaw off its back, the bull leaps into the air. It gyrates its hips and flips its head, a long ribbon of snot curling off its nostril and arcing over its back. Then it stops and turns and looks at Jackdaw. It hangs its head low. It shifts its weight onto its front hooves, butt in the air, and pauses. The clown with the black face paint and the big white circles around his eyes runs in front of the bull to distract it, but it shakes its head like it’s saying no to dessert.
The crowd hushes.
Then, I can’t believe it, Jackdaw takes a step toward the bull. The crowd yells, but not like a crowd, like a bunch of kids on a playground. Some holler encouragement. Others laugh. Some try to warn him. Some egg him on. My heart beats wild in my chest like when my sister CJ and I watch those slasher movies and Freddy’s coming after the guy and you know because he’s the best friend that he’s going to get killed and you want to warn him. “Bastard deserved it,” CJ always says, “for being stupid.” 
It’s like Jackdaw doesn’t know the bull’s right there. He starts walking, not directly to the fence but at a slant toward the loudest of the cheers, which takes him right past the bull.
I turn to Tibs. “What’s he doing?”
“He knows his stuff,” Tibs says, his voice lower than normal. The look on his face makes me want to give him a hug, but we’re not a hugging family, so I nod, even though Tibs isn’t looking at me.
Tibs is leaning forward, his eyes focused on Jackdaw, his elbows on his knees, and his shoulders hunched. Tibs is tall and thin, and he always looks a little fragile, a couple of sticks propped together. His face is our dad’s, big eyes and not much of a chin, sort of like an alien or an overgrown boy. He has the habit of playing with his fingers, which he’s doing now. It’s like he wants to reach out and grab something but he can’t quite bring himself to. It’s the same when he talks—he’ll cover his mouth with his hand like he’s holding back his words.
Tibs is the tallest of us three kids—CJ, he, and I. CJ’s the oldest. I’m the youngest and the shortest. Grandma Rose, Dad’s mom, always said I got left with the leftovers. Growing up, it seemed like CJ and Tibs got things and were told things that I was too young to have or to know. It was good though, too, because when Dad and Mom got killed when I was sixteen, I didn’t know enough to worry much about money or things. They had saved up some so we could get by. But poor CJ. She in particular had to be the parent, but she was used to babysitting us and she was older anyway—twenty-two, I think.
Like that time when we were kids when CJ was babysitting and I got so sick. Turned out to be pneumonia. I don’t know where our parents were. Most likely, they were away on business, but it could have been something else. Grandma Rose had cracked her hip—I remember that—so she couldn’t take care of us, but it was only for a couple of days and CJ was thirteen at the time. In general, CJ had started ignoring us, claiming she was a teenager now and didn’t want to play with babies any more, like kids do, which really got Tibs, though he didn’t do much besides sulk about it. But that day she was playing with us like she was a little kid too. 
We had been playing in an irrigation ditch making a dam. I pretended to be a beaver, and Tibs pretended to be an engineer on the Hoover Dam. I don’t remember CJ pretending to be anything, just helping us arrange sticks and slop mud and then flopping in the water to cool down. I started feeling pretty bad. Over the course of the day, I had a cough that got worse and then I got really hot and then really cold and my body ached. My lungs started wheezing when I breathed. I remember thinking someone had punched a hole in me, like a balloon, and all my air was leaking out. CJ felt my head and then felt it again and then grabbed my arm and dragged me to the house, Tibs trailing behind. All I wanted to do was lie down, but she bundled me in a blanket and put me in a wagon, and between them she and Tibs pulled me down the driveway and out onto the highway. We lived twelve miles from town, in the house where I live now. I don’t know why CJ didn’t just call 911. But here we were, rattling down the middle of the highway. A woman in a truck stopped and gave us a ride to the hospital here in Loveland. Can you imagine it? A skinny muddy thirteen-year-old girl in her brown bikini and her skinny nine-year-old brother, taller than her but no bigger around than a stick and wearing red, white, and blue swim trunks, hauling their six-year-old sister through the sliding doors of the emergency room in a little red wagon. What those nurses must’ve thought.
On the bleachers, I glance from Tibs back out to Jackdaw. The bull doesn’t know what’s going on either. It shakes its lowered head and snorts, blowing up dust from the ground. Jackdaw bows his head and slips on his hat. Then the bull decides and launches itself at Jackdaw. Just as the bull charges down on Jackdaw, the white-eyed clown runs between him and the bull and slaps the bull’s nose. Jackdaw turns toward them just as the bull plants its front feet, turns, and charges after the running clown.
Pure foolishness and bravery. My hands are shaking. I want to go down and take Jackdaw’s hand and lead him out of the arena. A thought like a little alarm bell—who’d want to care about somebody who’d walk a nose-length from an angry bull? But something about the awkward hang of his arms and the flip of his chaps and the way his hat sets cockeyed on his head makes me want to be with him.
The clown runs toward a padded barrel in the center of the arena, his white-stockinged calves flipping the split legs of his suspendered oversized jeans. He jumps into the barrel feet-first and ducks his head below the rim. The crowd gasps and murmurs as the charging bull hooks the barrel over onto its side and bats it this way and that for twenty yards. The bull stops and turns and faces the crowd, head high, tail cocked and twitching. He tips his snout up once, twice, and snorts.
While the bull chases the clown, Jackdaw walks to the fence and climbs the boards.
The clown pops his head out of the sideways barrel where he can see the bull from the rear. He pushes himself out and then scrambles crabwise around behind. He turns to face the bull, his hands braced on the barrel. The bull’s anger still bubbling, it turns back toward the clown and charges. As the bull hooks at the barrel and butts it forward, the clown scoots backwards, keeping the barrel between him and the bull, something I’m sure he’s done many times. He keeps scooting as the bull bats at the barrel. But then something happens—the clown trips and falls over backwards. The barrel rolls half over him as he turns sideways and tries to push himself up. The bull stops for a split second, as if to gloat, and then stomps on the clown’s franticly scrambling body and hooks the horns on its tilted head into the clown’s side, flipping the clown over onto his back.
Why do rodeo clowns do it? Put their lives on the line for other people? I don’t understand it.
The pickup men on the horses are there, but a second too late. They charge the bull, their horses shouldering into it. They yell and whip with quirts and kick with stirrupped boots. Tail still cocked, the reluctant bull is hazed away and into the gathering pen at the end of the arena. The metal gate clangs shut behind it.
Head thrown back and arms splayed, the clown isn’t moving. Men jump off the rails and run toward him, and the huge doors at the end of the arena open and an ambulance comes in. It stops beside the clown. The EMTs jump out, pull out a gurney, and then huddle around the prone body. One goes back to the vehicle and brings some equipment. There’s frantic activity, and with the help of the other men, they place him on the gurney and slide him into the ambulance. It pulls out the doors and disappears, and the siren wails and recedes.

Tibs stands up, looks at me, and jerks his head, saying come on, let’s go. I stand and follow him. 

 Like the characters in Deep Down Things, the author Tamara Linse and her husband have lost babies. They had five miscarriages before their twins were born through the help of a wonderful woman who acted as a gestational carrier. Tamara is also the author of the short story collection How to Be a Man and earned her master’s in English from the University of Wyoming, where she taught writing. 

Her work appears in the Georgetown Review, South Dakota Review, and Talking River, among others, and she was a finalist for Arts & Letters and Glimmer Train contests, as well as the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize for a book of short stories. She works as an editor for a foundation and a freelancer. 
Libraries Are Life

I love it that Lis Ann, proprietor of the Indigo Quill, is such a great library supporter. That’s so great, L!

Libraries saved my (emotional) life.  

I’m from a small town in northern Wyoming. Our county library branch was an unimpressive, squat brick building surrounded by cottonwoods.  It had glass doors and smelled of books (of course) and had a kids’ reading area and once computers came along there was a busy computer center of two computers.  When I say it like that, it sounds so ugly, but in my mind it’s surrounded by a halo of warmth and goodness.  

Down the street was a laundromat where my mom would sometimes do our truckload of laundry (if the pipes were frozen at home or the washing machine was broken).  I can’t tell you how excited I was for these trips.  At six or eight or ten I would trudge purposefully down the block, butterflies of excitement in my stomach: I get to spend two or three solid hours at the library!!  Oh. My. God.  The ravishment of it! I would open the doors and smile at the nice librarian and she would greet me.  Sometimes there would be a number of patrons, but as I remember it I was most often alone, or nearly so.

The day I discovered the Oz books, I was in heaven! I’d read The Wizard of Oz, and it was the librarian, I think, who said, “There are eleven others in the series, you know?  Right over here.” She led me to the shelf and I grabbed every single one of them I could find and took them over to the short table ~ or was it the bean bag? ~ and flipped through them all, savoring the illustrations.  Pumpkinhead with his wide smile, the threatening Wheelies, the Gump who was a nice flying contraption with a moose head, the round TikTok, and so much more. Oh the imagination.  And then I check out five or six, I’m sure, and read them straight through. What an amazing collection of books!

And as I got older, I read books that opened my eyes to the world around me.  I think I checked Marilyn French’s A Woman’s Room out from the library.  I read Joan Aiken’s The Weeping Ash, a wonderfully dark gothic tale about people trying to drive a young woman mad.  Dreadfully romantic. At some point I decided that I wanted to read from the As on, but that did not last long as I wandered the shelves and happened upon fascinating books.  

I had an hour bus ride to school and an hour bus ride home, and all these books weighing in my backpack were devoured on these long trips. I would read late into the night and get in trouble during class for reading.

We also had a grade school library and a middle school library and a high school library, which I made full use of.  I remember being thrilled to go to middle school ~ not because of the new teachers or anything but because I had a whole new library to ravage!

Ben Franklin may be known for kite and key, but I personally will be forever in his debt for inventing the American library. 

 Now, let's celebrate!  Tell the world about this great title below and enter to win a $100 GC:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review: Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold by Various Authors

Title: Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold 
Authors: Brinda Berry, Cate Dean, Jayne A. Knolls, Karen Y. Bynam, Laura Diamond, Theresa DaLayne
Publication Date: March, 2014
Publisher: Sweet Biscuit Publishing LLC.
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 283
ISBN13: 978-0991632015
Source: ARC from Publisher


Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A collection of six folklore retellings that will twist your mind and claim your heart.

SHIMMER: A heartbroken boy rescues a mermaid… but is it too late to save her?

BETWEEN is about a girl, a genie, and a ton of bad decisions.

SUNSET MOON: Eloise doesn’t believe in Native American magic–until the dreamcatcher spiders spin her down an unknown path.

THE MAKER: An incapacitated young man bent on revenge builds a creature to do it for him.

A BEAUTIFUL MOURNING: The story of a Maya goddess torn between duty and love, and the ultimate sacrifice she must make to achieve true happiness.

THE BARRICADES: When a human girl risks everything to save the life of an Eternal prince, will their feelings for each other change the world they know, or tear it apart?

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality. She doesn't mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason. 

Karen Y. Bynum is an author of young adult paranormal romance. Her novel Witch Way to Turn is published through Lyrical Press. She grew up in Hickory, North Carolina where mountains and magic surrounded her. Even as a child, she wrote her own faery tales and prattled incessantly to her imaginary friends. 

After graduating from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Communications, she went on to become certified in culinary arts from The Art Institute of Charlotte. But it wasn’t until her aerospace engineer husband accepted a job in Virginia and they relocated that she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Karen enjoys reading, tweeting, writing and spending time with her husband and their spoiled rotten Vizsla named Rusty.

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. She’s a lucid dreamer, meaning she can direct her dreams while they’re happening. When she’s awake, she pens stories from her dreams and shares them with her readers. 

Laura has many published titles including the Pride Series (New Pride, Shifting Pride, and Tsavo Pride), the Endure Series (Endure and Evoke), The Zodiac Collector, a novella Sunset Moon in the Lore anthology, and several shorts stories. When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.

Theresa DaLayne is a north-south-east-western kind of girl with a quirky personality to match her nomad life. Born in California, she migrated to three different cities in Washington State, a tiny island in Alaska, North Carolina, and finally to the suburbs of Ohio where she currently lives with her husband, three kids, vegetarian cat, and her ungrateful fish.

Always on the lookout for a new story, Theresa is a shameless eavesdropper and will take anyone who provides inspiration and mold them into a character without a second thought. She enjoys writing both paranormal and contemporary stories, considering her mind wanders between worlds of fantasy while she’s forced to live in the real world, very much against her will.

Hi there - thanks for checking in. My name is Cate Dean, and I write romantic suspense and paranormal, with some action packed YA paranormal and fantasy thrown in.

I am a huge history buff, and with my English/Irish heritage, I have always gravitated to English history. That love has taken me across the pond on a regular basis for the last 15 years. Now I get to combine the thrill of being in a country I love with my research addiction. :)

      Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold is a collection of short stories that all follow the theme of myths and legends. Like most anthologies, there were strong and weak stories in here. Some of them contained stories that were rounded and well-developed. They were more satisfying in terms of content. Others could probably use more work. They just weren't to my taste and I either couldn't get into the story, didn't like the characters, or the story itself was flat.

My favorite was A Beautiful Mourning. This one I would give 5 stars because it used the most mythology and I enjoyed every element of the story. It was the strongest one by far.

My least favorite was The Maker. I felt like none of the characters were likeable and I just couldn't get into the story. That doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't enjoy it, but it just didn't suit my tastes. I'd give this one two stars.

The other stories are between 3 and 4 stars. They were pretty good, other than a few flaws I made have found or elements that I disliked. But for the most part, they were good.

This was a pleasant collection of stories, and as anthologies go, I enjoyed most of it. If you have an interest in mythology and legends, then you will enjoy Lore.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Title: West of the Moon
Author: Margi Preus
Illustrator: Lilli CarrĂ©
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Pages: 224
ISBN13: 978-1419708961
Source: Purchased from B&N


Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Astri is a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America. After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent “goatman” in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.

Margi Preus is a children’s book author and playwright. Her first novel for young people, Heart of a Samurai, is a 2011 Newbery Honor Book, an ALSC Notable Book and a recipient of the Asian Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature, among other honors. Her picture books include Celebritrees; Historic and Famous Trees of the World, winner of the 2013 Flicker Tale Award. Margi served as the artistic director of Colder by the Lake Comedy Theatre for 25 years and with current Colder director and playwriting collaborator, Jean Sramek, has written hundreds of comedy sketches, a couple of comic operas, and dozens of plays for young people and grown ups. When she isn’t writing, she likes to ski, hike, paddle or sit quietly with a book in her lap.

      Do I sense a Newbery Award? I think so. Margi Preus has brought an exceptional piece of literature to the table in her new novel, West of the Moon. Norwegian sisters Astri and Greta are separated when Astri is sold to the local goat herder, Svaalberd. Their mother is passed and their father has made his getaway to America with the others caught in "America Fever." The idea is that he'd make a better living for his family and send for them when the time was right. Astri decides she can no longer settle for less than reuniting with their father, so she makes her escape, taking her sister and a mysterious quiet girl with her. After the initial track through a large forest while being chased by Svaalberd, they finally arrive at the ship headed to America. This is where the story shifts and proceeds with a new tone.

      To top off the adventure, Preus coalesces folklore and inspiration from her own ancestry to devise a Newbery-worthy novel. This book reminded me a lot of the old American girl books, especially my personal favorite, Kirsten. The journey you take with the characters isn't just interesting, but it can also open up the opportunity to learn about immigration; illnesses and illegal passengers included. 

     I found this book in the Young Adult section at Barnes & Noble and immediately fell in love with the cover (I wish I could say I don't judge a book by its cover, but I'm a sucker for beautiful artwork!). I decided to go on a whim and purchase it, and I couldn't set it down until I was finished! I love those kinds of books. 

    It was strange that I found it in the Young Adult books, because this is much more of a middle-grade book. I understand that there is one part where there's an implication of an adult theme, but it was very brief and if I were a kid, I probably wouldn't have caught it. Others have said they found it in the Children's section, so I guess different stores are categorizing it differently. It could go both ways, but it definitely looked out of place between all the books on vampires and teenage love-triangles.

     I can't wait for next year's awards, and I really hope this book either wins, or gets really close. It has all the makings of a Newbery, and it would make a wonderful embellishment of literature on anyone's bookshelf. I am so glad I randomly bought this (and judged this book by its cover)!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: If You Happen To Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey & Colin Jack

Title: If You Happen To Have a Dinosaur
Author: Linda Bailey
Ilustrator: Colin Jack
Publication Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 40
ISBN13: 978-1770495685
Source: ARC from Publisher


Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A tongue-in-cheek look at the practical uses of dinosaurs by a dynamic author/illustrator team. 

     If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don't know what to do with it ... why don't you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur -- from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs -- and the things dinos just aren't good for at all -- is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations. If you read carefully, you'll learn how to make your dinosaur last a very long time.

I was born and grew up in Winnipeg —a daydreamer with her nose in a book. In my twenties, I traveled around the world, mostly by ship. Later, I moved to Vancouver, where I earned a B.A. and M.Ed. at the University of British Columbia. Among my jobs were travel agent, college teacher, instructional designer and editor.

For years, I dabbled with writing. But I didn't begin to write in earnest until I had two young daughters. My first book was published in 1992, and I have since written more than twenty others, including novels, picture books and non-fiction. Like me, my books have traveled around the world and been published in places such as Greece, Latvia, Korea, China, Australia, Denmark, U.K., France and Poland.

I live in Vancouver, a short walk from the sea. I write full-time and still love to travel, read and daydream. 

      What kid doesn't think dinosaurs are awesome? And how many people know what to do if a stray dino just happens to make its way into your home? Okay, so maybe that's a little unlikely. In her newest picture book, Linda Bailey coaches the reader on what to do in the occasion that a dinosaur comes to make its way into the lives, and hearts, of their family.

     Now, when you imagine keeping a dinosaur around, it is likely that you would assume it would just take up space and cause more havoc than you need interrupting your daily routine. But you'd be surprised! They can be quite useful. It can mow your lawn, grind your coffee, serve as a burglar can even use it as a paper shredder! However, I would advise you to keep tabs on that use with your children.

There are some things you wouldn't want your dinosaur to do for you, such as carrying your picnic basket (the food probably won't make it to the destination). Some dinosaurs make better kites and babysitters than others, but that's okay. You'll figure it out. Bailey says that once you start using your dinosaur, it will be a wonderful long-term relationship!

      You and your family will love If You Happen To Have a Dinosaur. Bailey does a great job of delivering humor in a "serious" way. Your child will enjoy the absurdity of the book, and you can appreciate the light-hearted tone through its entirety. 

The illustrations are very well done, and I love the way everything is shaded. The artwork compliments the narration and also shows movement where necessary. The illustrator is a story artist at Dreamworks Animation. If you like what you see here, you should definitely check out his website and browse his other work. It's pretty fantastic! On this particular project, he used a program called Sketchwork Pro. He's also been generous enough to give fans a sneak peek at some of the illustrations he did for If You Happen To Have a Dinosaur, and you can enjoy those here:

This was a delightful book! Between the hilarious narration and the fun, colorful illustrations, you and your child will stay entertained! Do I sense more books like this?:

But if you don't happen
 to have a dinosaur lying
 around your living room

(Not everyone does.)
What if you have an octopus instead

a porcupine,
a penguin,
a saber-tooth,
a sasquatch,
a dodo,
or a camel,
or a kangaroo

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: The City by Dean Koontz

Title: The City
Author: Dean Koontz
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 416
ISBN13: 978-0345545930
Source: ARC from Publisher


Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.


Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean R. Koontz has also published under the names Leigh Nichols, Brian Coffey, David Axton, Owen West, Deanna Dwyer and Aaron Wolfe.

Dean lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

      I was really excited to have the opportunity to review Dean Koontz' new book, The City! In his most recent novel, Dean Koontz introduces the reader to Jonah Kirk (that's the short version of his name) in his fifties who reminisces about his childhood as a musical prodigy. The tone of this book is very different from other books by Koontz and has its own set of pros and cons.

I wish I could say that I loved this book and it met the speed and satisfaction of his other works, but it was really hard for me to get into. There aren't many books that I have so much trouble connecting with that it seems to drag on, but this was unfortunately one of them. Although the style and technicalities were all there, the content just wasn't. The pace was slow, the characters were mostly flat, and the storyline was 2-dimensional. I hate to say that I was a bit disappointed. It had a lot of potential, but it was just missing the magic that normally grasps you in most Dean Koontz books. 

Normally I enjoy books that fit more into the "literature" category, and I wish I could put my finger on what exactly this book was missing. I guess you could say it was that the voice did not seem to come from Koontz, and the whole thing lacked depth and focus. I didn't feel like I had a goal to reach, and so the journey to nowhere just dragged on.

I still believe in Koontz as a writer, and I have every intention of reading future books by him, but this one just wasn't one of my favorites.