martes, 31 de julio de 2012

Review of Freedom of the Monsoon by Malika Gandhi

                                           Freedom of the Monsoon by Malika Gandhi
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I am partial to stories about India; this I must admit, which makes me begin my readings with high hopes. The way this story related to the struggle for independence an...d resulting partition of India and the new Pakistan caught my interest and motivated me to keep on reading, no matter what.
Ms Gandhi's characters told their own stories in first person -- even the deceased. In fact, when this occurred early in the book, I wondered how the plot would work. Well, she was able to weave each story into an understandable web, including poetic descriptions.
This is a book written in English-as-a-second-language, and it needs editing for punctuation -- there is an interesting use of commas rather than semi-colons. Some grammar issues may be attributed to local English lore -- "…repeating the lord's name under her breath." Would this be the Lord, or a minor god?
I was very much bothered by the overuse of Hindi throughout the book. Even having a detailed glossary made reading difficult. Could it be that the customer target is the English speaking Indian?
In spite of the latest comments on the how-it was-written I liked the book.
 A Short Interview
1- When did you start to write, formally?
I began to write when I was in Uni and I finished the first draft of the book. It was a very different story then and a lot of plots and sub plots changed as I wrote several drafts. Even the names changed! I began to get serious about the book about three years ago after my second son was born.
2 - Do you have a family background of writers?
No one in my family is a writer so I am actually the first one. I have a lot of accountants in my family.

viernes, 27 de julio de 2012

Review of How To Survive When The Bottom Drops by John Sather

How To Survive When The Bottom Drops by John Sather

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
For some reason I was afraid this book would be another self-recovery manual. To my great relief I read words that were straightforward, passionate..., with conviction and hope for the reader.
Though the subject deals with recovering mainly from financial dire straits, I am convinced that it also applies to social and psychological difficulties. In this aspect, the book is useful in most of the world.
“Move Out Of State” is a chapter that really means change your surrounding habitat. Though, in a small country such as mine – Panama – this might prove difficult.
My favourite chapter: “Get out of house...” and listen to music... This I would follow by
“Live'... without' making an ass out of yourself”. Especially when in hot waters, I would add.
I do have a question, is the need for beer a US thing? In addition, perhaps with a beer on hand, the author could enhance his work with some editing for spelling.
A continuous message: Search for the ups not for the downs! I liked it!
Even if you are living successfully right now, this book has some great tips to keep you prepared... just in case.
Update:  Jt has re-edited the manuscript, rendering it almost faultless.

Author Interview:

-When did you start to write, formally?
It was about seven months ago that I had to do a 45 day stretch in the pokey. I had amassed some 4500 dollars worth of traffic fines over the years and by the time it came to a head, I had virtually no work to pay for my rent, let alone fines. After two weeks into it, I picked up a pencil and started to write down some thoughts. The next thing I knew, I had 25000 words down and it was time to clean it up and do something with it.
-You seem to have a good attitude towards life. How did it develop?
I have to give the credit to my mother. She has taught me patience. The most important thing she taught me was, no matter how bad things get, it can always get worse. There is no bottom, except when your dead. You have to let things roll off your back. If you let it pile up on you, sooner or later the strain is going to snap your spine.
- What has been the most difficult part of writing?
As far as the initial writing of my thoughts, that was easy. Organizing them into paragraphs and chapters, that seem to come pretty easy too. Mind you, it had been 25 years since I had written anything. I forgot a lot, but as I wrote day after day, it came back to me. When I wrote my second book, (This might sound ridiculous)I finished it in 28 hours. It was an 8500 word short story. The fact that it was non-fiction made it easy. It's a tale from 20 years ago about a guy that had done me wrong, so I got him good. The memory is still so vivid in my mind that it flowed out of me like a river. The hard part now is, I have to learn this whole marketing thing. It doesn't do me any good to write ten more if I can't find a way to sell the first one. Luckily I found some help, so with a little luck I can start to earn a living from this. I'll find out soon enough.

jueves, 26 de julio de 2012

Review of Jack The Homework Eater by Mitt Ray

Jack The Homework Eater by Mitt Ray

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
Though this story seems directed more at teenagers than adults I found it quite enjoyable, especially as it was well written.
Some situations may have not been quite believabl...e from my adult stance, though my child inner being accepted the presence of several dozen children cramming into Alex’ room.
The final lesson learned was not expected by me, and I was quite pleased by it.
I will definitely read more stories by Mitt Ray.
BTW, I was taken by “Tea being eaten,” an expression I would have frowned upon had a close British friend not explained to me that “tea time” is more than just tea but includes other edibles.

Review of The Three Letters by Robert Ruisi

The Three Letters by Robert Ruisi

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
"The stories are my song," writes Mr Ruisi in his Author's Message. He certainly sings through his Three Letters.
I cannot say which I liked best, because he was able to high...light something that was special to him about each daughter for whom a letter was intended.
Three messages to convey a father's love for his daughters… Beautiful.
With a bit of editing, mainly for punctuation, the letters will shine.

Review of Dante's Awakening by Devon Marshall

Dante's Awakening by Devon Marshall

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
I started reading this book with all my preconceived notions about vampires -- Bram Stocker's and others. Watching movies about them was more entertaining than imagining what ...was in print. My fellow readers, was I in for a surprise this time…
Ms Marshall was able to convince me that vampires do exist and have more freedom than I ...thought -- sunlight, loving, and human social acceptance.
The story of "Vampire's of Hollywood" -- Dante's Awakening-- was straightforward, in wonderful English, depicting strong women both of the human type and their vampire counterparts. And the plot was quite believable -- especially by being set in California.
It is necessary to point out that most of the women were into Lesbian sex, which was a delight to read about -- explicitly enough but never vulgar. I jokingly told myself: "If women can produce that kind of orgasms, too bad I'm not one."

Review of Dangerous Times by Phillip Frey

Dangerous Times by Phillip Frey

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
This thriller caught my interest from the beginning, perhaps because it took me around San Pedro, California, which I remember fondly. It contained all the expected elements -- go...riness, sex, a bit of social exposure and more.
I must say that I felt attached to the main character, Frank, in spite of his criminal mind. For some reason I came to think of him as a criminal with as much geniality as bad luck.
I also appreciated the author's concern about the hostilities between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics, especially the poor of the kind. Though I perceived them portrayed as rather dumb, it was realistic enough.
Nevertheless, I did have trouble following the thread of some characters due to the similarity of their names -- Kirk and Hicks. But this is my fault, not the author's.
I also wonder why, during the reading, I suddenly felt the need to wear a "camelhair coat".

Review of Trophy:Rescue by Paul M. Schofield

Trophy: Rescue (The Trophy Saga) by Paul M. Schofield

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
I am always a bit afraid when reading a sequel, mainly because of the fear of not remembering the original work. In this case it came back strongly as the ...characters in the sequel continued developing a story that was definitely well stored in my mind.
The creation of an organized, religion-free society was interestingly developed as well as the Compu-Court, which cast doubts about a perfect computer trying to cater to all human needs.
Martin and Panther did remind me of vampires due to their lack of need to breathe, though with normal human feelings.
It was good reading that there is always hope for Mother Earth in the mind of the author. And the “time of the Great Sadness and the New Beginning” was a beautiful way of describing the motive of this good story.
Mr. Schofield has the ability of describing battles with such precision that the reader may feel like a close participant.
BTW, the concept of “joined consciousness” was quite unique creating a take-off from Jung’s collective unconscious put to practical use.
When I read End my first reaction was: I hope not!