Saturday, March 12, 2016


It's not often that I find a story that truly stays with me; a story full of tenderness and a feeling of frustration.

I find that story in my real life.  I am not a 'young one'.  I'm heading into my sixties, a time I wish to warn the young ones about.  A time that lends me frustration with my partner; my love.  He does things that really, really piss me off.

I've learned that it really doesn't matter what gender or persuasion that I cling to.  I'm heterosexual, and my husband makes me crazy.  Really, really crazy. When you're a 'caretaker', life takes a more than casual spin.

He makes me as crazy as the partner, Frank, in the fantastic new novel, 'Hide', written by Matthew Griffin.  I love this story because I can truly relate to it.  No matter the gender, no matter the orientation.  We are merely humans, first, aren't we?

I can relate to Wendell, Frank's partner.  And I find that love is love.

Wendell and Frank meet at the end of World War II, when Frank returns home to their North Carolina town. Soon he's loitering around Wendell's taxidermy shop, and the two come to understand their connection as love-a love that, in this time and place, can hold real danger. 

Cutting nearly all ties with the rest of the world, they make a home for themselves on the outskirts of town, a string of beloved dogs for company. Wendell cooks, Frank cares for the yard, and together they enjoy the vicarious drama of courtroom TV.
But when Wendell finds Frank lying outside among their tomatoes at the age of eighty-three, he feels a new threat to their careful self-reliance. As Frank's physical strength and his memory deteriorate, the two of them must fully confront the sacrifices they've made for each other-and the impending loss of the life they've built.

I cried throughout this tender love story.  It is written so well, and the characters could almost be anyone I know (you know who you are...).  Except for the fact that they must hide their love.  It made me mad.

It pissed me off, actually.

Author Matthew Griffin
There is, however, one passage that totally surprised me, but I will not divulge it.  Let's just say that I didn't see it coming.  I cried like a baby, and for that, I'm a bit upset at the author. I loved the small character of Daisy. Let's not see that in your second brilliant novel, okay?

If you love love, no matter what.  If you don't care what the world thinks.  If love is love, in your world.

Read this.  Love should never have to hide.

It must be shown to the world.  Thank you, Mr. Griffin. Book Hog loves 'Hide'.

'Hide', written by Matthew Griffin, can be found in your local library and favorite bookstore.  Book Hog loves it, and so will you!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

'The Immortals'

Mythology has always interested me.  Be it in a comic/graphic novel universe, an ancient civilization, or even a children's book series.  Not all of it centers around religion.

But the book I just finished does center around religion, albeit an ancient one.

'The Immortals', a new book written by Jordanna Max Brodsky, takes ancient Greek mythology and turns it on it's ear.  It's the first in a series, and after experiencing great satisfaction in reading it, I'm anxious for more.

The city sleeps as Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson river. She enjoys her solitary existence; she doesn't have friends, and she doesn't speak to her family.  Most of of them are simply too dangerous.

During her walk, she finds the body of a young woman that has been gruesomely mutilated and wearing a laurel wreath. Selene's ancient rage arises, and so does the memory of a promise she made long ago---when her name was Artemis.

This book was recommended to me, and once I held it in my hands, I wasn't sure if I had the time to do my customary 'plopping down on the sofa' and devoting a couple of hours to the story. 

But I did.  And I was pleasantly surprised.  Brodsky is a good writer; she keeps up the frenetic pace, and really knows her Greek mythology.  The story is set in our time, and Greek gods and semi-gods are walking the earth, no longer important idols.  As the centuries pass and civilization forgets about them, their powers lessen, while their anger grows.

As most scholars (and fans) of Greek mythology know, Artemis was the Huntress, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto. But in this story, Selene-Artemis is given a chance to narrate her own life. She chose chastity, but fell in love with Orion.  She was the goddess of the natural environment, yet lived in the city where she spent the last of her days.

Author Jordanna Max Brodsky
At first, I didn't have much sympathy for her (Artemis was a rather aloof goddess), but when I learned that her current passion for helping women in distress was her life choice, I grew to respect her.  After a slow start, the story began to move, and with it, more characters were introduced.  Theo Schultz, a professor of mythology, comes into her orbit; Helen, the murdered woman was once his lover and a colleague.  As the story progresses, Theo and Selene set off to find Helen's murderer, and in doing so, discover that an ancient ceremony is taking place, one which offers up human sacrifices. 

Jordanna Brodsky 'knows her stuff', and it's a wonderful education for the reader.  

But, most of all, it's so damned interesting.


'The Immortals', first in the 'Olympus Bound' series by Jordanna Max Brodsky, is available at your local library and favorite bookstore. 
ISBN 9780316347181

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


I should know better than to read stories about animals.

They reach in and tear out my heart, even if the story is fiction.

One that comes to mind is 'Pax', the story of a little fox and his boy, written by the wonderful children's author, Sara Pennypacker.

You see, the problem I have with animal stories is that the animal usually dies, and I cannot handle the grief.  I end up on the couch, crying my stupid eyes out, while my cats circle me and wonder when I'm going to feed them.  Every time I'm in a bookstore, or the library, and find an animal book, I always ask if the animal dies.  Most know better than to tell me.

'Pax' is a wonderful story about, as I said before, a little fox and his human boy.  The boy saved the fox when it was just a kit, and it lived with Peter and his father.  It had no taste for the wild, aside from various animals milling about the yard while Pax was in his cage.

But when Peter's father enlists in the military, he makes Peter return Pax to the wild.  Although Peter ends up living with his grandfather, who lives 300 miles away, he strikes out on his own to find his beloved companion.

While Peter continues on his journey back home, Pax keeps a look-out for his boy, and finds adventures of his own.
Author Sara Pennypacker

This is such a gently-written story, so full of love and compassion.  Peter and Pax make a remarkable pair, although they are separated for most of the story.  But the 'not knowing' hit me hard; I wanted to read ahead, but the story deserved my fullest attention.  It is very compelling and full of suspense.  

Writing a children's story is hard work, and much care goes into it.  There are lessons to be taught, and lessons that are learned.

And, in this case, tears that are shed for a story that will be cherished for generations to come.

'Pax', written by Sara Pennypacker, is available at your local library and favorite bookstore.  ISBN 9780062377012.  Ms. Pennypacker is the award-winning author of the 'Flat Stanley'  and 'Clementine' series, along with many other stories for children.