Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dirty Little AngelsDirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Other reviews have called this a brutal, gritty coming-of-age novel, and it is that.

However I feel such a description might place this story in the wrong category. It is a coming-of-age story in the same way Bastard out of Carolina was; basically a story of someone growing up and into the cruelest knowledge that those around her are damaged and not nearly good enough to be ushering a young soul into adulthood.

Hailey Trosclair is a sixteen year old girl in New Orleans whose father is an unmotivated and unemployed alcoholic and whose mother is a depressive living in the past and clinging to resentments. These people live in only the dreariest sepia tones, and from them springs young Hailey, our first person protagonist who is suffocating for the lack of color. Brother Cyrus is a protective if misguided delinquent, and all adults - save the compassionate neighbor, Verma - fail both Hailey and Cyrus utterly. Her peers don't do much better, as friend Meridian and the inconstant Chase (aptly named) also betray her.

Hailey's coming-of-age is then coming into the knowledge that no one can really be counted upon, and leaving childhood is ugly, demonic work. Even the dirty angels of our world are less dangerous than the wolves in adult clothing.

Reading Dirty Little Angels was an almost effortless experience. Characterizations were rich enough to add rather than detract from the story. Hailey's narrative voice was engaging, even when she was at a loss due to her own splintering despair. The plot rang true, even throughout the more gruesome or depraved acts of some of the characters.

However, this review would not be complete if I did not mention Tusa's gift of imagery. So few novels really pull it off these days, so I was extremely grateful to be carried into this novel by the rich visualizations Tusa's words created.

I was sent this ebook for a review, and I thank for the author for the experience. I certainly hope Chris Tusa continues to write.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Here's an inspiring idea....

In the middle of the partisan bickering, bad news about jobs and the economy and basically negativity everywhere, here is an awesome, inspiring way to pass on a legacy of kindness and hope.


Think about what you can do.

I know I did.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Fifth Element of Love (While I Was Learning to Become God)The Fifth Element of Love by Roxana Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book, and its companion volume, The Fifth Element of Love (While I Was Learning to Become God) are best read by spiritual seekers with an open mind. Fans of Doreen Virtue, Deborah King, and other metaphysical authors will love this retelling of the life of Sybil Vaughan, a woman who fought against the odds in many ways, with the help of her angels, to make a difference and honor her destiny.

The author's bio states that she became a full-time author in 2009, as a result of her new heart and mind. At times I wondered where the thread of Roxana's life was weaving into Sybil's.

I enjoyed this book because it took me out of my comfort zone, and led me to question some of my own spiritual threads. An expanded review will be available on my blog later.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011


I love weekends for the most part. It's time that I don't have to be at the office by 7:30AM and I get to work from the laptop in my room. This weekend I have worked quite a bit on work stuff, very little except preparing meals on house stuff and taken a nap.

Last weekend I did some research on how to request advanced reader copies of books so I could read new stuff and write reviews. I requested several books and actually got one shipped to me late this week, so I wanted to spend the weekend reading that so I could go ahead and write my review. No such luck. Every time I get settled in to read, I fall asleep. So yesterday I took a nap - in honor of the Day of Debauchery and Gluttony, and basically ignored the housework. Good stuff.

Weekends are also symbolic for me. They are two days into which I feel compelled to cram seven days of living. There is pressure - internalized, of course - to make those two days "count," when the rest of the week I am at the beck/call/whim of other people's desires and incompetence. They are two days where I try not to simmer and smolder with anger over other people's whims, desires and incompetence. They are two days where I try not to bemoan and catastrophize that I am on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The symbolism comes in when I think - "these are the two days I get to try to live like a normal person who works only 40-60 hours a week." Stupid, I know.

Now, however, the "holiday" is passed. I want to get some reading done, so I will most likely retire to the easy chair across my bedroom and start making notes as I read. Once again, I am compelled to do as much as possible because in less than 20 hours I will be back on for another 5 days. Or, if today is like yesterday, it may be far less before the dreaded work cell phone rings.

Carpe diem.