I would back a sequel

Crow in the Hollow by Brian W. Parker; 2013; $15.95; 290 pages; Inkwater Press, Portland, OR; 978-1-59299-968-2; Fiction; Purchased from the author at Wordstock, November 2013; 5/1/14-5/3/14

Suqata is the last of his tribe, and the last wordweaver.  He is taken into slavery by the colonists who have conquered the land, where he meets a older man who begins to teach him the songs of his people and the power they have.  He is then sold to an Army Captain who teaches him to be his swordbearer.  Suqata is smarter than any of the colonists give the “savages” credit for and learns quickly.  A new governor comes to the colony, his daughter has a secret of her own which compliments Suqatas’.  The governor removes Suqata from the Captain and makes him his daughters valet.  Together they learn much about the songs and their power.  When the colony is challenged by evil it is up to Suqata to battle that evil with help from some friends.

Why did I read this?  I met the author at the latest Wordstock and talked to him about his book and then purchased a copy.  I finally got everything I had checked from the library read so now I am tackling the pile of books that I have bought or were given to me.


Did I like it?  Yes very much.  It was fun and exciting somewhat reminiscent of the early Shannara books.

What is with the title of the review?  After I finished reading the book I realized that Brian had obtained the financing for publishing through a Kickstarter campaign.  If he goes out for another one for a sequel I would be a backer.

My assigned Panda is named Phil

The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna; 2013; $17.99; 310 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-25626-4; Teen Fiction; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood;9/30-10/1

Why did I pick this up?  Because Kari Luna is going to be at Wordstock this weekend and I am scheduled to introduce her and Nancy Werlin on Sunday.

What is the story?  Sophie Sophias’ father is no longer around, her mother is very protective and she talks with a Shaman Panda named Walt.  She also moves often due to her episodes.  Her father is a renown theoretical physicist who has put forward some rather controversial theories.  She meets up with a new best friend and a boyfriend when she moves to a new town.  Then she and her new BFF travel to New York City to find her father and have some great adventures.

Did I like it?  Yes it a great story about love and how to embrace our lives as they are, at least that is what I got from it.  One of the most compelling stories about love, friendship and family that I have read in a while.


What is with the title of the review?  Our family has had a stuffed Panda that has accompanied us for the last 21 year and he is named Phil.



Did you know there is an island in Lake Oswego?

Let Me Go? by Chelsa Cain; 2013; $25.99; 358 pages; Minotaur Books, New York, NY; 978-0-312-61981-7; Mystery; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Capitol Hill; 9/28-9/29

Why did I pick this up?  Because I have read the previous books in this series, and have talked to Chelsea Cain at several Wordstocks and she is appearing at this years Wordstock

What is the story?  Gretchen Lowell, the serial killer known as The Beauty Killer is on the loose in Portland again.  At the same time police detective Archie Sheridan is investigating the death of a DEA agent in the Pearl District.   Susan, the Herald reporter, is taken hostage by the drug dealing kingpin and Archie and Gretchen team up to rescue her.  Archies’ head gets messed with by Gretchen as usual but he seems to have an epiphany about life and some of the people in his life at the end of the story.

Did I like it?  Yes, once again Chelsea Cain has written a gripping page turner.  Gretchen as serial killer takes a back seat to the story of drug dealing.


What is with the title of the review?  There is a small island near the edge of Oswego Lake in Lake Oswego that was originally owned by the Jantzen family and a large party of the story takes part on the island or revolves around it.


The Fresh Prince this aint

Buck, A Memoir by MK Asante; 2013; $25.00; 252 pages; Spiegel and Grau, New York, NY; 978-0-8129-9341-7; 811.6 A798b; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 9/27-9/28

Why did I pick this up?  MK Asante is another author that is going to be at Wordstock this weekend and I really like reading stuff by authors that are there.

What is the story?  This is a memoir of Asantes’ teenage years in Philadelphia and what set him on the path that he is currently on.  He went from being a drug dealer in the hood to being a college professor, hip artist and film maker.  There was much despair in his life as he was growing up and he was able to find his way out through reading and words.

Did I like it?  Yes, it was an intimate look at a life that I have never known and in one of my passions he discovered a whole new world through books and words.  I am looking forward to reading more by him.


What is with the title of the review?  Even though Will Smith and M.K. Asante both are from Philadelphia, their growing up years were quite different.

What is with the title of the review?  

At the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford; 2013; $26.00; 331 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-52202-3; Fiction; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gregory Heights; 9/19-9/27

Why did I pick this up?  Jamie Ford is going to be at Wordstock this weekend so I wanted to read something by him.

What is the story?  William is in a home for orphans and abandoned children in Seattle in 1934.  He is there because his mother abandoned him.  He never knew who his father was, or what the story of his mother was.  One day the children visit the movie theater and William sees a movie poster featuring a Chinese actress named Willow Frost, who William believes is his mother.  He and his friend Charlotte escape from the institution and encounter Willow and William begins to get answers to his questions about his life.  It is a story that all takes place in and around Seattle between  1921 and 1934.  There are many twists and turns throughout the story.

Did you like it?  Yes, it was gripping and moving.  Wordstock authors are almost always good storytellers and this one was so good that I really want to read his other book and am looking forward to meeting him at the festival this weekend.


What is with the title of the review? Jamie Fords’ first novel is titled Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and this story is filled with bitter and sweet stuff throughout.