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Search tags: Kim-Smith
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review 2020-06-07 13:37
Thor
Thor - Wayne Smith

by Wayne Smith

 

This is an original take on a werewolf story. It's told partly from the pov of a German Shepherd dog who belongs to a typicaltm American family. The father is a lawyer, the mother appears to be a housewife and there are three children. They all love their dog and he loves them and instinctively protects them, referring to them as "The Pack".

 

Sometimes he protects too well and gets in trouble with Dad. It's interesting looking at things through his eyes. The author seems to know a lot about dogs and his perspectives come over as fairly realistic. The first few chapters of this would make a nice, wholesome dog story if it weren't for the intimate moments between Mom and Dad getting a bit too graphic for very young readers.

 

When Thor senses an unknown danger coming and starts to catch the scent of an unidentified wild animal in places and on belongings associated with a relative of The Pack, we see his confusion as he tries to work out where the threat is coming from and how to protect his family.

 

Some dramatic werewolf action happens in the last quarter that had me breathless. It was very well done! Though a couple of challenges to belief (besides, you know, werewolf) kept it from quite reaching that fourth star.

 

Still, a worthwhile story and watching the change in consciousness in one transition to werewolf was more than intriguing.

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review 2020-06-05 21:00
THE ATTIC TRAGEDY by J. Ashley-Smith
The Attic Tragedy - J. Ashley-Smith

Beautifully written, this novella was a short and dark visit inside the mind of a young woman.

 

Georgina, (George), became friends with Sylvie in a rather dark antique shop. There, Sylvie shares a secret; she can tell where an object has been just by touching it. George though? George never shares her secret with Sylvie or anyone else, (at least not verbally). Why not? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Right from the get-go, right from the opening line:"Sylvie never called them ghosts, but that's what they were." THE ATTIC TRAGEDY had me in its grip. This is a poignant tale about unrequited love, about feeling that you're different, that you're never a part of things, never at home, even in your own body. During your teen years, (which is where this book began), one is always feeling awkward and out of place to start with. Add in a few of the issues these teens were experiencing and it adds up to an almost unbearable state. Did I mention there's a supernatural aspect to this story as well? At least, I think there was...

 

I'm surprised at how much feeling the author was able to pack into this novella, (perhaps novelette, technically speaking). Please believe me when I say, Mr. Ashley-Smith can write. In one scene where George wants to reach out to Sylvie, there's this description:

 

"My fingers stretched and recoiled, daring then afraid, expanding and contracting like some skittish undersea creature; the kind of thing that dwells in shadow on the ocean floor, its hideous misshapen body an insult to nature."

 

So vivid, so beautiful, so easy to picture. My heart went out to both of these young women, but especially to George. I have to wonder what would have happened had things worked out differently. I do know I'll be thinking about both of them for a while. This was my first experience with this author and I hope to read more of his work in the future!

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to Meerkat Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2020-05-25 15:01
Smith of Wootton Major / Farmer Giles of Ham ★★★★★
Smith of Wootton Major / Farmer Giles of Ham - J.R.R. Tolkien

I admit I'm biased, but I loved these two short stories as much now as I did when I was a little kid just discovering Tolkien. I feel as though they represent both his love of the heroic and the mysteriously romantic nature seen in LotR, but also his affectionately scathing take on human nature seen in The Hobbit. With SoWM illustrating the first and FGoH the second. I think these would be a good intro to Tolkien for anyone hesitant to make the larger commitment to his novels. 

 

Paperback version, found at my public library's Friends of the Library sale. 

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review 2020-05-07 22:54
The Attic Tragedy
The Attic Tragedy - J. Ashley-Smith

Sylvie is new to the school. Her old-school clothes and head in the clouds demeanor make her an easy target for boys like Tommy Payne and his gang. George knows what Tommy will do to a girl like Sylvie. When George intervenes on Tommy's attack of Sylvie the pair become fast friends. Sylvie accepts George with all her quirks and faults. George accepts Sylvie's strange gift of knowing the background of the antiques at her father's shop with a simple touch. As life moves on, Sylvie goes to University far away. George stays and works in the antique shop waiting to desperately rekindle the feelings that they shared in school.

The Attic Tragedy is a short story about friendship and how it changes us over time. The unique elements of Sylvie's gift brought me into the story, but isn't the main focus. I would love to have a gift like that, to know the history of objects with a touch. The stories Sylvie shared were amazing whether they were sweet, heartbreaking or silly. Since this is a short story, the timeline moves quickly and the characters are carved out along the way. I do wish there was more information about Sylive's gift and George's background. The real focus, however, is on the value of friendship and how it affects us, even if the friendship changes. Overall, a unique story with elements of the paranormal and acceptance.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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review 2020-04-26 16:54
The Spinner's Book of Fleece
The Spinner's Book of Fleece: A Breed-By-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose - Beth Smith

by Beth Smith

 

This is a very practical book about spinning which gives a little background, but focuses mostly on types of fleece and their respective purposes.

 

The author explains the value of raw fleece and the differences in different types such as longwools, downs and multicoated breeds. Relative strengths and advantages to different breeds are covered as well as the options to buy raw or processed wool, how to find sources, how to get consistent yarn and what wools take dye best.

 

There is a chapter on buying fleece dos and don'ts that contains a lot of valuable information. Cleaning, storing and tools are all discussed in detail and spinning basics are included for noobs like myself. The information about different fibers and how much to buy for specific projects was something I found very valuable. How to keep bugs out of your wool was also of great value.

 

There are chapters that go into detail about each type of wool, how to wash and comb it and just about anything you might want to know about how to prepare your wool for spinning.

 

This is the most thorough book about spinning and choosing/preparing yarn that I have come across. It finishes with a glossary of terms plus charts and resources that make the idea of taking up this craft feel much less daunting.

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