Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review - Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson

Every so often, I read a book that, although I am tired and ready to go to bed, will keep me reading all night until the very last page.

Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson is one of those novels.

Not only did I stay up late to finish the book, but I also talked about the book to myself while dragging myself to bed! Yes, it was just that good.

The setting is Boston, Massachusetts in the year 1765 and magic, or rather conjuring, is afoot. Meet Ethan Kaille, a conjurer and thieftaker who gets hired by those in the city who have lost something of value. He finds it, finds the person who had stolen it and deals a generous amount of "justice" in the form of bloodletting conjuring. However, all goes awry as he is hired by the wealthy Berson to reclaim a brooch worn by his daughter, who was brutally murdered during several raids in the city one night. Suddenly, Kaille's world is turned upside down and inside out as he not only searches for the brooch but also discovers that the world he knew just got dangerous.

This book is an excellent mixture of alternate history, mystery, suspense, horror, fantasy, romance and fantasy, all nicely rolled into a story that WILL keep you turning the pages while asking the question, "what else could happen?" D. B. Jackson (aka the amazing writer David B. Coe) writes with such flair that you can't help but fall into the story and wait with baited breath as to Ethan's next move. I especially loved Ethan's main competitor of the thieftaking world: Sephira Pryce. As much as she is beautiful to behold, she is also more dangerous than a hungry male lion. Wherever Ethan was, Sephira seemed to be several steps ahead of him with a slow seductive smile that could easily turn into a snarl. I was glad that Jackson did not try to make 1765 Boston a pretty place to live in. It is dirty, gritty and the streets are covered in filth, muck and blood.

How wonderful!

If you are a fan of David B. Coe's previous work or are looking to find a new "voice" in alternate history, pick up a copy of Thieftaker. You will not be disappointed.

And, speaking as a friend of Mr. Jackson, I was especially honoured to read his new work and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 17, 2014


Although Spring is finally here, the cool winds of Winter still burn my nose and chap my lips. The walk to work is somewhat painful yet I continue to do it every day because I know of nothing else. The time for daydreaming and thinking outside of the box has passed me by like a cup full of ambrosia. I wanted to take a sip but I was too scared to do so. Once upon a time, I used to be carefree and colourful, wandering in places that others would have deemed to be too dangerous. I, however, feared no one and no thing and because of that simple fact, I was unharmed. Even when danger stared at me in the face and its warm and fetid breath caused my eyebrows to wilt and turn grey then white, I held my own and refused to back away. Now, I am quite the opposite and I still don’t know what happened. How did I lose the way? What drove me from the path that was so carefully laid out for me before my birth? My back is hunched over and my eyes are constantly downcast: my new posture towards the dregs of Life. I thrive in fear and anxiety because it comforts me like a sickly wet nurse whose nipples only offer rancid milk for a screaming and colicky newborn. I no longer know the names of colours because I shut that part of my mind down when the change occurred. I have no one to blame but myself and yet my eyes still flash a glimmer of anger in response to what I have become. This is not how I used to be, I would think, then drearily go back to my menial tasks for the day. This is all I have now, I say to myself over and over again as a mantra for an opium soaked deity that has wasted away to a mere slice of belief. This is all I have now. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

earl grey

A dead leaf
Reminded me of when
You said you loved me.
Autumn, a season of
Changes and the Fae,
Came upon us like a
Bear searching for trout.
We both had a cup of
Tea – me oolong and you
Earl Grey – when you told
Me you loved no one else.
I thought you were lying
Then and still do now.
The dead and dried leaf
Can never return to its
Previous state; all I ask
Is that it can.

(copyright 2014 Kimberly B. Richardson)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review - Spoiled by Caitlin Macy

I have a confession to make:

I love reading novels about people with problems. The problems that they themselves create and yet wonder just how they got in the middle of their mess. Reading those kinds of books is like watching crash test dummies run into the brick wall over and over and never getting tired of it.

So it came as no surprise to me that I enjoyed reading SPOILED by Caitlin Macy. These nine stories carry a similar theme: women either from a privileged background or are currently living in a privileged world who have created their misery and dysfunctions. Stylish and savvy New York City women who have secrets that will never see the light of day or problems that rise to the surface over one ill-timed conversation. Welcome to SPOILED.

This was my first time reading Macy's work and I have to admit that I was quite impressed with her writing: The New Yorker-esque style mixed with literary craftsmanship and a bit of well-tailored gossip. The women in these stories feel as though you have just had lunch with them after a prolonged period of not speaking with them; when you finally do see them, you shake your head sadly, knowing that they have not changed at all. Although each story did have a separate quality that I enjoyed, my favourite stories were "Annabel's Mother" and "Eden's Gate".

"Annabel's Mother" is the story of how a good deed goes somewhat awry and a young girl who, quite nicely, is older than she appears due a major deficit in her life; while "Eden's Gate" is a tale of regrets, repressed jealousy and a dinner that ends in tragedy. These stories, in my opinion, were great examples of Macy's writing style, keeping me hooked with every word until I reached the end. I especially loved "Eden's Gate" in that I could not stand the main female character, Jessica. However, I loved the story in that I disliked her so much that I had to find out if anything was going to happen to her. I was just that curious.

The woes of the rich and privileged have been laid out like a sumptuous and SPOILED dinner, thanks to the intelligent writing of Caitlin Macy. If you are a fan of the works of Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud or my literary idol, Ian McEwan, then you will enjoy Caitlin Macy!

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review - Nymphs of the Valley by Kahlil Gibran

Every so often in my reading adventures, I stumble across a literary gem that makes me smile and satisfies me enough that I have to tell everyone about the book. My most recent "gem" is Nymphs of the Valley by Kahlil Gibran. The slim book contains three "parables" that serve as lessons and wisdom of Life for all. Although Gibran (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) write this book in 1906, the well written and delightful tales will appeal to people today.

"Martha", the first "parable", tells the story of a young innocent country woman who makes a choice that will irrevocably change her life.

"Dust of the Ages and the Eternal Fire" is proof that love can survive Time, even when that love stands before Death.

"Yuhanna the Mad", the final "parable", asks the readers a question: if the voice of God came from an unlikely source, would the words still be taken seriously?

Each "parable" gives the reader a chance to reflect and to understand that Life, our individual Life, is sacred and to be thought of as so. Even when Life is filled with strife, anger, desperation and despair, redemption comes and the scales are balanced once more. Without pain, there would be no understanding of joy. With laughter comes pain, sorrow with a smile, and tears with dreaming.

Nymphs of the Valley is a book that can be read over and over again for a chance to discover something new.

Happy Reading!