Book Review: The Gaiad

the-gaiad

In a society increasingly buried under the weight of its own insularity, an ancient and shadowy group selfishly guards a secret with the power to change everything. Tonight, on a stage in front of thousands, one of their members commits a horrible, shocking act. In the audience is Detective Fleur Romano. Bitter and world-weary, she vows to uncover the reasons behind the horror she just witnessed. In the process, she’ll discover that she’s led her lonely life ignorant a fundamental truth, a truth first discovered by a man who walked the earth millennia ago, a man mysteriously familiar.

In this powerful debut, William Burcher is willing to explore unique and fantastic themes with realism and grit. The GAIAD boldly poses big questions. What do we lose, as we separate ourselves from the earth and each other? What would the future hold, if suddenly something changed with that most fundamental of relationships—the one we have with our own planet?

Three Stars

three-stars

An original storyline based on a big idea.

The Gaiad’s intriguing premise is what brought me to it after meeting the author at a local writer’s event. Burcher tackles big, societal questions and challenges how we might think about our planet and our relationship with it through the eyes of a somewhat jaded police detective, the secret society she is about to come in violent contact with, and members of a civilization who lived their lives in a much simpler way that was more in harmony with the earth and her gifts.

Overall the writing is good. There were some awkward sentence structure issues and a couple of sudden instances of profanity that didn’t seem to mesh smoothly with the general theme and plot to me. Especially when uttered by the ancient people in the book. No, I’m not some prude who can’t handle a little profanity. This is where the three stars come in. The Gaiad is a good book with a great plot. The few things that pulled me out of the book were not nearly enough for a sub-par rating.

If you’re into alternative philosophies, thrillers, mysteries, and secret societies, I would encourage you to give this book a read.

Remember, just because this book wasn’t quite my cup of tea with crumpets on a beautiful spring day in an English garden, doesn’t mean it’s not yours. As it goes with any book, if it sounds interesting to you READ IT! Then help the author out and kindly REVIEW IT! Reviews are critical to any writer’s success.

If you’ve read The Gaiad, feel free to let me know what you thought. Let’s discuss.

 

 

Her Hacker Husband (working title)

A little snippet from the opening of a first-draft work in progress…

Let me start by saying I might be crazy, but I am pretty sure I’m not.  I fully believe my husband is cheating on me (maybe worse) and using different programs that he has either written or found to help him do it.

 I know nothing about programming so I would not be able to tell you if what I think is happening is possible, but if it is, I want someone to help me find out. Is it possible to hack into someone’s phone and watch every move they make? Eavesdrop on their conversations? Control what they see or don’t see on their phone? I think he has added software or programmed my phone to keep me from finding out what he is doing behind my back and to spy on me.

 I am looking for someone willing to help me find out if he has added code to my phone to keep me from viewing files and track me, find out what he’s up to, and help me find proof that I’m not crazy…

 Anyone interested please email. Discretion is of the utmost importance.

 Thanks

Jenna was fairly satisfied with the posting she was about to make on the local electronic classified site. She stared blankly at the computer screen, hesitating to publish the ad, holding the hoodoo shop receipt that she’d found in his jacket pocket. It still smelled like perfume. She must have written it a hundred times to try to make it sound logical and reasonable. Eventually, she realized there was no way to write the ad without sounding like a lunatic. So, she decided to get that out of the way in the first sentence. Then maybe someone might actually take her seriously and contact her, despite better judgment. Hopefully, she didn’t end up hiring a lunatic given what she was asking. She knew if she were in his or her shoes she would feel the same way, but she had to know. There were too many coincidences, too many unanswered questions, not the least of which was whether or not she was out of her mind.

Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

I know, this one’s been around for a while and I’m a little late.

All the light we cannot See garnered a Pulitzer Prize for New York Times Bestselling author Anthony Doerr. It’s not his first award, but it may be the most recognizable. My feelings about this book are <dramatic pause> complicated.

On the one hand I can appreciate it for the Pulitzer Prize winning novel that it is. On the other hand I found it a little tedious. So let’s get a few preliminary things out of the way. First, I avoided reading any reviews or opinions about this novel before I read it. I didn’t want any preconceived notions going in. Second, historical novels, especially those set in the middle of a war are not really my cup of tea. Third, I’m not a very patient person when it comes to getting to the point. That being said, I still appreciate it for what it is, a beautiful work of art in the form of words.

The story is about a blind French girl fleeing the war and a German boy drafted into the ranks of the German Nazi army. The convergence of their paths in occupied France is heartbreakingly beautiful as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Despite her blindness, 14-year-old Marie Laure lives in a world with rich and vibrant colors provided by her other senses and her glorious imagination. Her father nurtures her curiosity and builds up her independence every chance he gets. He tries to save her from the ravages of WWII by taking her to her great uncle’s house in the seaside city of Saint-Malo. Her father tries to protect her and help her understand her new surroundings. In the process, he is taken prisoner by the Germans. Losing the people who support her one by one, Marie does her best to survive the hardships of war as it inexorably marches toward her.  Then there’s her father’s secret that she must keep safe, but should she?

Werner is an orphan recruited into a brutal branch of the Hitler youth army and torn from his only family, his sister. His childhood obsession with radios and other gadgets attracts the attention of a German engineer at the Nazi youth school. Soon he is out in the field tracking down forbidden radio signals all over Russia and Europe, which leads him to Saint-Malo where his world collides with Marie’s in the middle of the occupation of the city by German forces followed by its liberation by allied forces. Yet Werner’s punishing training never destroys the tenderness in his heart, perhaps causing him some extra pain.

I said that historical war stories are really not my thing whether fictional or not. However, I would still maintain that this one is heartbreakingly beautiful. Although the story jumps between characters and flashbacks at break-neck speed, I was usually able to follow fairly easily. The couple of times I was lost for a moment I kind of felt like it added to the tumultuous times I was reading about and caused me to sympathize. Especially with Marie.

Some have spoken about this book being full of “purple prose”, that is to say, ornate and extravagantly overly descriptive writing. In general, that may be true and a no, no for writers. BUT in this case, I think it works. All the Light We Cannot See couples beautifully flowing, vibrant, and colorful writing against the stark, chilling, and gruesome background of WWII in a way that is compelling and full of emotion. If no one ever broke the rules, we’d never know what freedom can feel like. The statement applies to life as much as it does to writing. The trick is, knowing when and how to do it.

I thought I’d be glad when this book was over. Yet in the end, it was one of those stories that left a kind of aching emptiness in its wake.

5/5 Stars
5/5 Stars for beauty and character