bookcover: 
Last to Die, Rizzoli and Isles book cover
Author: 
Tess Gerritsen
Series: 
Rizzoli & Isles
Publisher: 
Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780345515636

Description of Sales Url: 
Purchase from Amazon
Review: 

Last to Die was my first Tess Gerritsen novel. It is a story of pursuit and rescue, of outsiders and insiders. Our entry into the story is thru Teddy Clock, whose family is massacred. He (and others) are rescued by the mysterious blonde who says "if you want to live." Boston police detective Jane Rizzoli has his case, and takes him to the Evensong boarding school in Maine, where many strange and damaged orphaned children are sequestered in protective custody in the wilderness. Medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli make it their business to protect the orphans. Something is after them.

Fans of the television series Rizzoli and Isles will recognize the characters to some degree; but Jane and Maura's lives take a different turn in the books than they do on the screen. If I had never seen the television series, I would have visualized the book differently, I think, even though I read the books first, and discovered the series later.

I found the writing to be very serious, as compared to someone like, say, the entertaining Janet Evanovich, but infinitely more relatable than Kathy Reichs Bones series. No puff and fluff here, but chilling to the bone. Tess Gerritsen's knowledge as a doctor is intrinsic to the content of the book, and the content of Maura Isles personality, but the author's love of mystery and puzzle solving comes out as well. If you want a book that talks down to you, and that spoonfeeds you the story, Gerritsen's stories are not for you. If you love writing that respects you as a reader, and presents challenging stories and well rounded characters carved as sharply and clearly as a doctor's scalpel, then you will love Gerritsen's work as I do, though it might come with some nightmares.

• Always establish clear requirements. If you don’t understand about what your professor wants from you, then you can’t expect your writer to understand. So always try to write a set of clear requirements about your assignment and discuss each one of the requirements with your writer. In this way you can avoid misunderstanding and you can make sure that whether the final result is close to your expectations or not.

Portland Arts & Lectures brings the world’s most celebrated writers, artists, and thinkers to our community.

In addition to live lectures that are also broadcast statewide on The Archive Project on OPB radio, the program connects renowned authors with readers and writers of all ages through classroom visits and writing workshops.

EPIC's eBook Competition is open!

Please read the rules carefully before entering. Consult the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information before sending questions to the Competitions Chair. Get your questions answered before you complete the form. Changes will not be made.

Eligibility and Rules

Entries will be accepted from June 1, 2016 to July 15, 2016.

Entry Fee: $25 for EPIC members, $35 for non members.

Start time is Saturday, July 9th, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) central time. Held quarterly and limited to 500 entrants. Don't miss out on the ultimate source for creative stress...and tons of fun! More than 85 prizes! (When you purchase this, you'll download a PDF file of the guidelines. There is also a link to them in the email receipt.

bookcover: 
The Best American Poetry 2013 cover
Author: 
David Lehman
Series: 
Best American Poetry
Publisher: 
Scribner
Genre: 
Rating: 
10
ISBN/ASIN: 

9781476708133

Description of Sales Url: 
Purchase from Amazon
Review: 

Best American Poetry 2013 is part of that "best of" series I follow with great interest, and usually do not review. I usually read the Best American Short Stories, carefully, slowly, over a great length of time. Each one deserves a long, and slow analysis, multiple re-readings, and some kind of written response as fruit from the inspiration. The same thing is true for "best of" volumes of poetry. Poetry differs because rather than a story, each poem usually provides a puzzle on many levels. I once had a language professor who said that poetry is full of inside jokes, and you only understand a poem when you've gotten past that secret gate and are "in" the poem.

The problem with reviewing an anthology is obvious. Do you pick one or two poems? Do you try to take a long view and sum up the entire table of contents? I have never come to a satisfactory decision where anthologies are concerned. But this volume has two features that I really enjoy. One is seeing which journals and magazines published the year's poetry; the other is getting familiar with the guest editor's taste and choices. This year's editor is poet Denise Duhamel. Her work is witty and polished and aches with emotion, so that is what I expected in this year's collection. (cont...)

bookcover: 
Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life cover
Author: 
Dani Shapiro
Publisher: 
Atlantic Monthly Press
Genre: 
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780802121400

Description of Sales Url: 
Purchase from Amazon
Review: 

Dani Shapiro's Still Writing-The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life is a book of short memoirs and essays that speak to the heart of the writing life. For writers, writing is not an act, but a vehicle that takes us to another place. If you will pardon the clumsy comparison, I would say that you could think of each of the essays in this book as being a separate vehicle that makes up the writer's train that is Dani Shapiro.

I found the book not unlike other author's essays, like Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, another book that gets you to that writing mindset. Shapiro considers things that are the at the center of writing like escape, obsession, fear, scars, spying, our inner censor. Each of the essays is presented personally, without condescension, from the perspective inside that deep well within.

This is the kind of book I never read at one sitting, but instead nibble each essay one at a time, for inspiration. It's like the "each one teach one" philosophy. Read one, write one. Shapiro's creative life is a wrestling melee of career, craft, practice, and life, flavored by doubt and demand and is as seasoned with pragmatic suggestions as it is a lilting voice. I enjoyed her insights, but even more than that, I recognize them. I fully expect to approach this book again at different times, and think that I will continue to find new insights and echoes that speak to me.

bookcover: 
Write Your Own Mystery: Create Your Own Hair-Raising Stories and Intriguing Tales bookcover
Author: 
Pie Corbett
Publisher: 
Annova Books
Genre: 
Non-fiction_: 
Rating: 
7
ISBN/ASIN: 

9781843652359

Description of Sales Url: 
Purchase from Amazon
Review: 

Write Your Own Mystery: Create Your Own Hair-Raising Stories and Intriguing Tales by Pie Corbett is a writing book geared to the juvenile audience. It is a short, charmingly presented beginner's book on how to write a mystery. Chapter headings include subject areas such as: Puzzling plots; Writers at work creating your own mystery; Tricks of the Trade; Map out your mystery; Editing and Publishing; and includes a glossary and index. The illustrations are child-like and charming. For an adult, this is a quick read.

The book is interactive in that there are tips, and problems presented which are designed to engage the young reader, and help them create their own original work. Because it is simplified for the young reader (8-12), it is not really appropriate for an adult looking for a writing resource. Also, the book is quite short, only 48 pages. It would be useful in a creative writing classroom, or even as part of a grammar course, because it does deal with the introduction of grammatical and writerly issues, like metaphors, sentence structure, and clauses, and other writing related forms. I found the glossary and index to be useful. I noticed the author also has written similar books entitled respectively How to write your own "Chiller" and "Thriller." I do not know how these (much cheaper) volumes compare to this one.

I would recommend this book for anyone who is homeschooling a child around the age of eight, as a way to introduce creative writing in an entertaining way, or perhaps as a fun summer project for rainy days, to help keep skills alive during a summer vacation.

Pages