jueves, 19 de diciembre de 2013

Elsa by Allison Bruning (Review)

Elsa (The Secret Heritage) by Allison Bruning
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
This novel -- the first of The Secret Heritage Series -- has all the elements necessary to be a success. The family saga is very well developed, and the psychological traits of the main characters are faithfully portrayed. In fact, I found the ability of Ms Bruning to see through Franklin's eyes to be unique. The rituals surrounding a death in the family were surprisingly similar to those still followed in some parts of my area of the planet. And the sexual scenes are well written. The story is able to elicit strong emotions towards all the characters.
Knowing that this book is the beginning of a series had one downside: The ending left me out on a limb. Therefore, I felt that the book was not finished, even if it is obvious that the saga will continue.

jueves, 5 de diciembre de 2013

The Bastard Child by Sean P. Hoggs (Review)

The Bastard Child by Sean P. Sean Hoggs
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari

I usually react negatively when a book starts with a foreword/review of the book. Especially when I feel that the idea is to make up for weakness in content. But, the title and the cover photo drew me in.
When I reached the last page -- I could not stop once I started -- I needed to rest. It was a bumpy ride, including a few expressions that I attributed to transcultural peculiarities -- could of rather than could have, moms versus mom's, barley and not barely, and a few others. I was left with the feeling that I had read a testimony of how wretched a life can be, but that a ray of light may shine through.
As a former clinical psychologist I can attest that child abuse leaves such scars that most of the times the victim is rendered incapable of recovery, either physical or emotional. Though these signs remain, in this autobiography the message is clear: Once responsibility is assumed hope and actual life success is possible.
In closing, I have always believed that change is produced from one generation to another. Hoggs proved this by making sure that his next generation would produce no bastard children. A wonderful lesson.

domingo, 1 de diciembre de 2013

La Imaginación Terapéutica

La Imaginación Terapéutica
Alex Cantón-Dutari

Mi tío Rafael Cantón fue el primer psiquiatra que se estableció en Panamá -- graduado como tal.  Hoy día tiene 92 años y aún ejerce a tiempo parcial pero desde 1961 vive en California.
Recuerdo que siempre decía que cuando uno tenía una furia muy grande era reconfortante y terapéutico tomar el control mediante la imaginación.  - Puedes hasta asesinar a alguien y nada te pasará-
En estos tiempos de la política panameña, en la que nadie cree en nadie -- porque ni se tiene la seguridad de que un pariente en las altas esferas te ayudará si no le reportas un beneficio político -- se me han alborotado las ganas de probar la recomendación del Dr. Cantón.
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El primero que se me vino a la mente fue un político propietario de una empresa de guaro que y que pertenece a un grupo cuyo fundador era xenofóbico, pero con tanto carisma que ni los descendientes de sus víctimas recuerdan.  En fin, lo imaginé en una gran fiesta en la cual todos sus compañeros decidieron hacer una competencia del tipo adolescente imbécil.  Pero con tanta suerte, para mi imaginación, que el fulano se empujó un litro de Ron Abuelo de un solo tirón y, luego de la última gota, cayó en redondo, de cara al piso…. Y no se levantó más.  Lo tuvieron que levantar para llevar a la morgue.
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Después me imaginé en el Parque Omar -- ¿o era Gallegos, o Sanjur? -- y avisté un grupo de personas corriendo, como huyéndole a algo.  El que corría más rápido gritaba -- ¡Talingos! ¡Talingos! El grupo era de unas veinte personas -- jóvenes, de mediana edad, hombres, mujeres.  De lejos los observé hasta que me percaté de que le huían a una nube -- parecía una nube -- que definitivamente los perseguía.  De repente, la nube tomó forma de V, y descubrí que se trataba de un buen número de pajaritos panameños conocidos como bimbines. El líder se fue directamente a la cabeza delantera, y los demás le cayeron encima.  El atacado empezó a manotear para quitarse a la bandada de encima y se tropezó contra una piedra.  Cayó de bruces contra otra… Y no se levantó más.  Lo tuvieron que levantar para llevar a la morgue.
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En otro momento me encontré frente a una tarima en la que se habían colocado varias personas todas ataviadas con ropa de color rojo.  Me llamó la atención un fulano en particular, cuya camisa se abanderaba con el logo de una marca carísima -- ¿Y si se dicen trabajadores, de dónde saca plata para comprar algo así?  Por si las moscas -- ya me estaba convenciendo de que esto de imaginar cosas me podía poner en riesgo -- me retiré como unos cien metros.  El día estaba opacado y parecía que llovería en algún momento.  Iba a hablar un chaparro bigotudo que también era candidato a presidente.  Cuando empezó a hablar el cielo se oscureció, un par de relámpagos inquietaron a los presentes.  El candidato de los pobres -- así lo conocían -- iba enfadándose cada vez mas.  De una nube negra exactamente encima de la tarima salió un rayo que cayó en centro de la misma.  El escenario se partió en dos y todos los artistas cayeron de bruces contra el cemento inferior… Y no se levantaron más.  Los tuvieron que levantar para llevar a la morgue.
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- Vamos a la Belisario Porras - me dijo mi nieto - Se van a presentar todos los independientes.  Y allá fui a parar, pero no quise llevar a jovencito casi adolescente.  Ya no existía la estatua del antiguo presidente.  Parece que iban a develar una nueva que había sido patrocinada por el grupo.  Me los encontré todos en círculo alrededor de una base de piedra con un gran trapo rojo que cubría la obra.  No sé por qué recordé algo que me dijo un compañero del Cuerpo de Paz por allá por 1966 - "La mano de obra panameña es como la mano de obra de Kenya".  Hubo un par de discursos, todos girando alrededor del tema de no tener dinero pero… Uno que luego supe que era o había sido dirigente transportista, parado al lado de otro que tenía un cabello ensortijado no muy natural, otro que parecía muy tranquilo bajo su cabello blanco y otros que yo no reconocía, recibió el honor de halar la cuerda para develar la estatua.  La haló, pero pareció que se trabó.  Un segundo intento… nada.  Decidieron entre todos tomar el borde del trapo cobertor y halaron con fuerza.  "La mano de obra….."  Cayó la estatua y con ella la base.  Las piedras cubrieron a los candidatos, que cayeron de frente… Y no se levantaron más.  Los tuvieron que levantar para llevar a la morgue.
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Las inauguraciones de obras gubernamentales eran tan frecuentes que el asunto parecía convertirse en un carnaval frecuente.  Siempre me preocupó el Metro, que alguien metiera la pata y el sueño de muchos se convirtiera en la risa de pocos.  Pero todo resultó bien.  Y lo cierto es que quienes no tenían auto se veían  muy contentos.  Por primera vez llegaban a su trabajo sin haber tenido que madrugar como antes y regresaban a casa a tiempo para cenar y disfrutar un tiempo en familia.  Yo tenía que ir a una cita a mi policlínica del Seguro Social.  Para los viejos hay un servicio de laboratorio algo especial y había que llegar muy temprano.  Llegué y noté que mis compañeros enbastonados parecían molestos. -Es que van a inaugurar un servicio de algo y tenemos que esperar -  En un kiosquito me compré un café mientras miraba la tolda blanca que se había colocado para la llegada del presidente y su candidato.  Los viejos siempre encontramos cómo entretenernos para esperar… A estas alturas no hay apuro.  Al rato apareció un grupo donde, obviamente, un chaparro de cabellera blanca y un señor más alto medio calvo, eran los principales.  Todos se metieron bajo la tolda y en su turno dijeron sus discursos.  Los viejos solamente mirábamos con una sonrisa incrédula.  Entre sonrisa y sonrisa vimos -- sí, la vimos -- una ráfaga de viento y hojarasca procedente del parque contiguo al edificio.  La tolda se hundió y las varillas que la sujetaban cayeron sobre los presentes.  El de cabello blanco y su amigo cayeron de frente contra el pavimento…. Y no se levantaron más.  Los tuvieron que levantar para llevar a la morgue.
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Ahora recuerdo cuando Doña Elsi, una gran amiga de la familia, nos narró la recomendación del tío Rafa.  - Rafael… será terapéutico…. Pero no sabe igual.
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-¿Y ahora, por quién voto? Dímelo en mis sueños, Saramago -

sábado, 30 de noviembre de 2013

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (Review)

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
Khaled Hosseini conveys life's reality in such a way that even though his characters may seem harsh, the prose is smooth, descriptive and full of emotion. It does require the reader to keep a sharp mind to follow the narrative thread.
I think it helped that different characters told their story and the timeline was maintained thanks to that. And I really iappreciated that the author did so well writing in English as a second language


jueves, 28 de noviembre de 2013

Viernes Negro en Panamá / Panama´s Black Friday

A propósito del Viernes Negro en Panamá ( tomado de "¿Recuerdas…en tus sueños?")

Corriendo contra la corriente
Hace un par de décadas vivimos en una dictadura militar, algo que no espero revivamos. Pero aunque mucha gente se adaptó arrimándose a la autoridad para sobrevivir, también hubo un gran movimiento cívico al que se le llamó Cruzada Civilista -- la contraparte de la militar -- y por armas tenían ollas y sartenes repicados por utensilios de cocina. Y todos los participantes vestían de blanco.
No perdamos tiempo porque eres lo suficientemente mayor como para que se te grabe una escena que será un déjà-vu en un futuro no lejano.
Sostuve a mi nieto lo más fuerte que pude y me aseguré de que nuestros cordones de plata se entrelazaran para mayor seguridad. Inicié el vuelo trazando un gran círculo y al completarse nos dirigimos al centro y suavemente nos deslizamos hacia la tierra. 
Estamos en Vía Porras. Mi esposa y yo estamos caminando junto a cientos de personas todas vestidas de blanco. No sé hacia dónde nos dirigimos, pero el mensaje de “radio bemba” era que caminásemos por todas las calles de la ciudad. Lo importante era que nuestro descontento se sintiera.
De repente varias chotas aparecieron, cada una con su sirena a todo volumen, y los policías se apearon y empezaron a correr hacia la muchedumbre. A su vez disparaban latas con gas lacrimógeno que se esparcía al hacer contacto con cualquier objeto ya fuese humano, animal y demás.
Tu abuelita entró en pánico y yo estoy corriendo tras de ella. Ella avanza hacia los militares y no con la corriente huyendo de ellos. Y un muchacho que corre un poco delante de ella parece que les va a tirar algo, pero lo han tumbado y lo están pateando.
Acabo de alcanzar a mi esposa, la agarré por la cintura con mi brazo y me la he llevado con sus pies en el aire salvándola de pasar por lo menos un día en la cárcel, como le ocurrió a varios amigos, tanto hombres como mujeres. Nos escondimos detrás de una pared ornamental de una fábrica de ropa, y algunas personas que ya estaban ahí me pasaron un trapo empapado en vinagre para que nos pusiéramos sobre los ojos para disminuir el ardor del gas lacrimógeno.
Ese día todavía se recuerda como el Viernes Negro, y tu abuelita siempre se sintió muy orgullosa de no huir con la corriente sino correr en contra de ella para “enfrentar el enemigo.”
***

Running Against the Flow

A couple of decades ago we lived in a military dictatorship, which is something that I hope we won’t live in again. But even though many people cope with and even kiss up to the authorities to survive at that time a huge civic movement was organized. It was called the Civilistas -- civilians as opposed to military -- and their arms were pots and pans on which they beat with kitchen utensils. And the participants all dressed in white.
We must hurry because you’re old enough imprint a scene that will be a déjà vu, and which may protect you from siding with any dictatorship in the near future.
I held my grandchild as tight as I could and made sure that our silver chords intertwined for added security. I started to glide into a very wide circle and veered towards the center and slid to the earth.
We are in Via Porras and my wife and I are walking among hundreds of people. We are all wearing white outfits. I really do not know where we are heading, but the message by mouth was to walk on all city roads. We just had to make our dissent be known.
All of a sudden several paddy wagons have appeared with their sirens as loud as ever and policemen are running towards the crowds. They are shooting canisters with tear gas, which explode all around us.
Your grandmother just panicked and I’m dashing after her. She is running towards the military and not away from them. And a fellow who is doing the same thing has the intention of throwing something at them, but he's been tackled and he’s being kicked all over.
I just caught up with my wife, grabbed her by the waist, and carried her away from a sure day in jail, which is where many of our friends ended up.
We hid behind a decorative wall of a factory and some people handed us cloths drenched in vinegar to diminish the sting of the tear gas.

That day is still remembered as Black Friday, and your grandmother felt proud of how she did not run with the flow, but against it, to meet the enemy.

miércoles, 27 de noviembre de 2013

Hot Gossip by Susanne O'Leary (Review)

Hot Gossip by Susanne O'Leary
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
The description -- almost a prologue -- was well-written and set my mind on the path of this page turner.
Though this book is a sequel to Hot Property, it stands on its own as a separate novel and the references to the Irish countryside, with its slurry scent hanging in the air, made me add Ireland to my bucket list.
Though the genre is romantic comedy, there are a few serious, deep, passages, especially relating to death adjustment, which I could relate to on a personal basis. Being practical during a divorce also made sense with "…miserable is bad enough. But being miserable in cheap clothes is worse."
I don't know why, upon finishing the book, I felt the urge to drink a glass of Laphroaig single malt from the isle of Islay… Of course, Guinness is a must.

martes, 26 de noviembre de 2013

Lost in Wilderness (Review)

Lost in Wilderness by Prathibha Nair
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
This is the type of book that cannot be written without having lived the experience transmitted to the main characters.
A book of short stories about parenting may become tiresome if the content is not varied. This is not the case. The author was able to reproduce the concerns of the working woman in a very modern society -- Arab Emirates -- albeit being immigrants in that country.
I was impressed by the straight-forwardness in all the stories, whether they be of bliss about motherhood, doubt or rejection.
This is a book I recommend to every young, working, striving couple. Responsible parenting is no easy choice.

lunes, 18 de noviembre de 2013

La Silla Vacía (Leyenda Nicaragüense)

La Silla Vacía
(Antigua leyenda nicaragüense)

Esta leyenda me la narró mi hermana Gladys hace unos días.

Un señor ya mayor veía a su amigo rezar muy devotamente.
- Yo quisiera poder rezar, pero no sé qué decirle a Jesús-
-  Pues pon una silla frente a ti, arrodíllate ante ella y cierra los ojos.  Imagínate que Jesús está sentado en ella y dile lo que quieras -- que te duelen los huesos, que tienes hambre, que las gallinas no ponen-
Parece que el señor le cogió el gusto al ritual y lo hizo todas las noches durante el resto de su vida.
Una mañana entró el amigo al cuarto y se encontró al nuevo devoto de rodillas ante la silla y con la cabeza sobre el asiento, muerto.
- Murió entre los brazos de Jesús, quien estaba sentado en la silla -

Luego de contarme la leyenda Gladys me explicó por qué en su apartamentito siempre hay una silla vacía.  - Por si mi papá viene en la noche y tenga donde sentarse -

domingo, 17 de noviembre de 2013

Reasonable Malice (Review)

Reasonable Malice by Jt Sather
Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
Vibrant no nonsense prose is something that characterizes Jt Sather's work. His first person narrative makes the reader feel immersed in this author's vibrant life -- perhaps more like living in a constant earthquake zone.
On the human frailty side, nothing is sweeter than revenge -- or the path to it. 
This is a short story that has a very interesting prologue and on to a believable story -- because it is set in Las Vegas?

sábado, 16 de noviembre de 2013

The Gypsy Way (Review)

The Gypsy Way - Running in Corridors- by Frankie Fulwood
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
This is a book that I had to read twice, to make sure I understood the English regionalisms that were needed in this "English story" -- or was it Irish written in English? It was quite a pleasurable trans-cultural literary experience.
It is not easy to write in first person while maintaining reader's interest, especially if there may not be too many issues to identify with. Though there were, in fact, quite a few. For example, I found that the author's perception of women was -- though not politically correct nowadays -- pretty much the same as most fellows' in my country. (Do they belong to a special… strange… incomprehensible breed?)
The variety of issues encountered were well described -- domestic violence, Irish knuckle bare boxing, even the anthropological facts about the Roma's dark skin tone provided a wide variety of educational facts. And let's not forget the lessons in poultry breeding.
As I started the second read, where I understood that lighting a fag was not a homophobic hate action, but never quite pictured what a sleeper hanging from a nipple was, I realized that I was reading someone's personal diary. 
And yes, the author had me running in corridors following his thread. The first read was training; in the second I got to the finish line.
Go for it!

jueves, 14 de noviembre de 2013

A Return Ticket (Review)

A Return Ticket by Tom Duke
Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
Doomsday themes are not my thing. Nevertheless, the story needs some editing to be a perfect work -- reaching Singapore by ship to then drive on to France? Later on I discovered it was meant Hong Kong to France. The characters stand on their own very well and there is a sense of permanent tension towards survival. The ending was not as strong as the story, though quite poetic -- perhaps a good alternative under the circumstances.

sábado, 9 de noviembre de 2013

Wilderness Heart (Review)


Wilderness Heart by Jacqueline Hopkins
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I usually tire easily when reading the contemporary romance gender.  Too mushy for my taste.  Nevertheless, this novel kept me interested, especially because the author did not  immediately dive into torrid sexual suggestions or scenes.  Instead, I was presented with what seemed to be serious concerns and personal contradictions -- nature preservation vs. need for lumbering, safe elk hunting. Add a touch of mystery with a thriller twist.
The author's taste in sensual description was highlighted by her description of what a real nice man's butt must be -- one that completely fills a pair of jeans.  As a result I can say that though there are some rather explicit sexual scenes, these are tasteful and leave enough to the reader's imagination.  Sensuality, therefore, permeates the entire story.
I guess I may have forgotten a few things about sex, but I have always been intrigued by the "musky smell" concept -- it brings me the urge to shower the culprit!
Oh yes, love does end up the winner!

lunes, 4 de noviembre de 2013

Aymaran Shadow (Review)

Aymaran Shadow by Hemanth Gorur
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must admit that I am always wary of books that have quite a few reviews already posted, especially when the ratings cover the full 1-5 spectrum. Nevertheless, there is a soft spot for my colleagues who write in English as a second language.
This being said, I had to keep in mind that "perhaps the Aymaran people spoke bad Spanish," which allowed me to overlook the author's using an additional language too lightly. Especially my own -- Spanish.
I did find some of the poetry that Indian English tends to bring to my ears -- especially the lack of contractions. Not many readers unfamiliar with this version of English appreciate the end result. 
There was a dialogue which took the form of an internet chat -- I found this amusing and perhaps original, especially in a story that began with the past -- centuries -- and dealt with the present. 
This was an interesting read.
Aymaran Shadow by Hemanth Gorur
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must admit that I am always wary of books that have quite a few reviews already posted, especially when the ratings cover the full 1-5 spectrum.  Nevertheless, there is a soft spot for my colleagues who write in English as a second language.
This being said, I had to keep in mind that "perhaps the Aymaran people spoke bad Spanish," which allowed me to look over the author's using an additional language too lightly.  Especially my own -- Spanish.
I did find some of the poetry that Indian English tends to bring to my ears -- especially the lack of contractions.  Not many readers unfamiliar with this version of English appreciate the end result. 
There was a dialogue which took the form of an internet chat -- I found this amusing and perhaps original, especially in a story that began with the past -- centuries -- and dealt with the present. 
This was an interesting read.

jueves, 31 de octubre de 2013

Pre-sleep check / Revisión Pre-sueño

It's almost like shutting down an airplane, except that it's shutting down myself before I go to sleep.
1- Night cap -- my hair is so short that it catches cold
2- Vicks vapo-rup is a must on my outer nostrils and chest -- my grandma taught me this.
3- Specs off -- too expensive to replace
4- Walking cane always nearby -- either to walk or beat up a nasty person....
5- Pray to someone -- just in case it exists.... Grandma prayed to an ex-president... I pray sometimes to my friend JAC

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Pasos para la camita: !) gorrito -- ya se me enfría la calva 2) Vicks -- mi abuela lo usaba 3) el bastón al lado -- la abuela también lo usaba 4) no anteojos.... Ella le rezaba al alma de su compadre Arnulfo... Yo le rezo a "Quien pueda que t'e por ahí... por si las moscas.... Buenas noches  a todos



Writer's Block (Review)

Writer's Block by M.P. Witwer
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I found the interesting conversation between an author and the computer's calendar to be a very clever reminder of all writers' nemesis -- writer's block. All readers of this book, who happen to be writers -- or aspiring to be -- will feel reflected in the process.
Through Ms Witwer's story she gives us a message: A simple description of items or scenes of our surroundings can put an end to our hitting a wall, constantly. And she is able to convey the process in a powerful, poignant but uncomplicated use of everyday American English. May many more awards be granted.

Panamá en el Primer Mundo / First-World Panama

Definitivamente que parecemos un país del Primer Mundo.... En USA son los ciudadanos abriendo fuego en escuelas, supermercados y hasta en una base naval. En Panamá es la Policía asesinando a quienes deben proteger... My Name Is Panama! De paso, ese slogan le dió un título Miss Universo a una Miss venezolana...

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Panama is definitely about to be a First-World country.... In the US some citizens open fire in schools, malls and even a naval base.  In Panama we've got the Police killing those they're supposed to protect... My Name is Panama.  By the way, that slogan helped a Miss Venezuela win the Miss Universe crown in 1986.  Definitely, my Panama is quite unique....

miércoles, 30 de octubre de 2013

Faith / Fe

To believe in G'd or gods is an act of faith.  Same as not to believe.  Bullying each other's faith is an attack against a person's mental sanity.

Creer en D's o en dioses es un acto de fe. No creer. Tambien.... Debe terminarse el acoso de ambos bandos. Tratar de terminar con la fe de alguien es violar su salud mental. 

Excentricidades / Excentricities

Throughout history the powerful have done whatever they wanted.
A través de la historia de la humanidad los poderosos siempre se salen con excentricidades .....  Excentricidades de los Poderosos (3 photos)

Before The Daisies Grow (Review)

Before the Daisies Grow by Micki Street
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
The island of Brazzina becomes the destination of three delightful a-bit-over-middle-age ladies in search of a holiday.
Micki Street concocts a thriller that develops in a most enjoyable way – for the reader, if not necessarily the characters. 
The story is quite believable, even though we may have to stretch our minds about half a centimeter. To this add very good descriptions that may produce heat stroke, profuse sweating or even hunger and, of course, at least a <choking smile>.
I wish everyone <over fifty> has the energy of Nora, Wilma and Dotty. Of course, guess who the leader is.

Daisy (Review)

Daisy by R.B. Clague
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
Have you ever driven through beautiful scenery over a seemingly well constructed road and suddenly becoming startled because a tire went in and out of a pot hole? This is what best describes my reading of this could-be delightful novel.
The only problem was that the holes in the ground became rather frequent and, though the story kept me very interested, I had to force myself a bit to find out how Daisy and her friends fared.
"There is colony…" "When they eaten and drunk their fill…" "… night came and the Jakob appeared…"The group with whom they would be walking were a varied…" As I am not familiar with the Australian version of the English language -- if there is one -- it is difficult for me to assess if the lack or excess of articles, noun and correct verb tense and some other oddities, just denotes a regional version of the Queen's language or this book should be re-edited for grammar.
Nevertheless, I liked the story. It could be due to that part of me that remains a child and, as a psychologist, I know that children identify more with animals than with people.

Through The Gloaming (Review)

Through The Gloaming by Donna L. Dillon
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
Life-threatening situations can make a person take upon a chain of behaviors that may change his outlook into the future. This seems to be the case of Alex, the main character of this novella. 
Ms. Dillon is turning out to be quite efficient in portraying suffering children and, this time, she has included paranormal aids, which usually increase my interest in a story.
There is just one situation that has me intrigued. Will a person falling through ice think as long and deep as Alex did? I am not quite sure, but a creative writer will make the reader ponder.
Nevertheless, I would suggest that a prompt re-edition for grammar and some punctuation be undertaken: "The headache that he had dogged him since he awoke from his accident was completely gone." "…Jake reluctantly the baby in the stroller…" These examples do most injustice to this novella.

Tell A Thousand Lies (Review)

Tell A Thousand Lies by Rasana Atreya
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
"The knock, this late in the evening, was as unexpected as road repairs in a non election year." ….. "Don't tell lies… otherwise girls will be born to you."
The above phrases prepared me for the social indignities that would be unveiled throughout this wonderful novel. 
Ms. Atreya wrote in English-as-a-second-language. I must say that she may put many a native English speaker to shame.

Tales of Old Japanese (Review)

Tales of Old Japanese by Hugh Ashton
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
The five short stories that appear in this book take us along a cultural development journey from the pre- World War II Japan to the Japan of today. Nevertheless, the air of simplicity of former days remains.
My favourite story is "The Old House." It summarizes all of the above, including a bit of the paranormal, which I enjoy.
By the way, I doubt that young adults or late-teenagers will be interested in this well-written work. It takes maturity to relate to it, and I am so glad for this.

Elizabeth Rose (Review)

Elizabeth Rose by Janus Gangi
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must say that the story is quite interesting, and I was attracted to the descriptions of Syria -- geographical and cultural. 
There is the need of prompt editing for punctuation, especially the use of commas, semi-colons and "--". I also found quite a few glitches in verb tenses.
I do not read Arabic, but I do read French. It is my opinion that if a foreign language is included this should be with done correctly, especially if a leading vampire is speaking -- vampire leaders are supposed to be perfect. 
Once the above is corrected I am sure that I could enjoy the story in all its worth. 
BTW, the story is told in just the right "length." Not too short… Not too long…

Who Will Hug The Sun (Review)

Who Will Hug The Sun? by Ey Wade
Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
It took me less than fifteen minutes to read this beautiful story -- perhaps because I got into each picture.
In Spanish the Sun is masculine and the Moon is feminine. I was surprised to read the reverse in English; now I may understand why a car is feminine in the Queen's language.
Do you know what impelled me to buy the book? The title. It intrigued me; the story engulfed this old fellow.
This love story convinced me that Ms Wade knows how to dive into her inner child's fantasies but convey them as the adult she is. The final outcome was excellent.
Grammar and punctuation? Quite flawless.
My congratulations to the sketch artist.

Freedom From The Monsoon (Review)

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 and 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.