By Lauren Scott
“Ever So Gently” is a beautiful collection of free verse and symbolic poetry. It is broken into three sections that cover nature, life’s moments, and some author insights. I love nature and I’m drawn to vivid images, but the emotions and insights explored in our shared experiences were equally intriguing. There was a peace within these pages that allowed me to drift off into a poetic slumber when I was done reading. Although I enjoyed the entire collection, here are a few lines that captured my heart. “Fresh raindrops/gently landed/on their wilted spirit/as I witnessed them lifting…”—Wilted Spirits, “You stowed dreams in the clouds,/imaginings rose higher than the heavens…”—First Breath, “Their presence graced my universe beautifully like an endless ceiling of bright blue sky. Then they were gone.”—Friendships Gone, and “Its glow will grow ever so gently/into a bright beacon of hope/rising with the golden sun/bringing clarity to our vision.”—Ever So Gently. A collection that I will be enjoying again and can highly recommend.
“Tales from the Riverside” is a collection of true-life stories that span several decades of Mr. Landgraf’s life. It is an entertaining account of life in the swamp and educational. I live in the forest, so I know little about swamps besides alligators living there. It is so much more than alligators as we are taken on fishing trips to catch, a favorite of mine, catfish, gardening, relationships, equipment, and survival. It is told through humor, but there are some very scary life-threatening parts. I stayed up late reading about hurricanes, snakes, and equipment problems, and enjoyed the author’s recipes and daily life stories. Although I will stick to living in the forest, I could appreciate the peace and independence found in the swamp. A short story memoir of living in Riverside are tales I can easily recommend!
“Fusion: Poems of Life” takes the reader on a vivid journey through nature and life’s emotional aspects. I enjoyed the entire collection, but the nature-based poems really captivated me because I am so comfortable there. It was very hard to pick from the beautiful imagery, but here are a few of the many I highlighted. “The dream of my life was/To fly with the clouds/Drape their colors,/Adapt their shapes…”—Dreams, “Snow clad mountaintops/Kiss capricious clouds./Emerald lake watches,/As rosy hues of dawn smile…”—Ambrosial Love, “Stormy sea swallow/Stories of eons/Some shores speak…”—Changes, “Hold the first rays of sun/Softly in your hands or/Soak them gently in your eyes…”—Magic Moments, “The shimmer of violets allures me/A flower fairy sits smiling/Sprinkling her magic dust…”—Flower Fairy, and “The moment she wears her scarlet gown/She gets a call to cast her spell/Edgy enchantress grabs her crystal…”—The Scarlet Gown. A collection I read in one sitting, but one I will also revisit. I can highly recommend this to all poetry lovers.
By C.S. Boyack
“The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack” is a unique collection of short stories and had been sitting on my reading list for way too long. I’m so glad I finally picked it up. It was a fast read that was completely entertaining, down to the intermission. The book begins with “Jack O’ Lantern” which had a twist that made me grin. It was fun to see some favorite characters Lisa the Robot, along with Jason Fogg, and learn a bit more about their backstories. All the stories were full of imagination, with Mr. Boyack’s humor weaved into many of them. “50 Galloon Drum,” and “Soup Ladle of Destiny” are stories I won’t soon forget, but all the tales were great in their way. An excellent grouping of creative stories that I can highly recommend.
“Delilah” is set in the 1880s and follows a young woman who was just released from prison for defending herself and her family. She sets out to return to the family ranch with a young girl, Sarah when they are attacked. Delilah was beaten, raped, and almost lost her life when they tried to hang her. Instead of giving up, even with all the bad that’s happened to her, Delilah’s strength keeps her going. She’s determined to locate the men who attacked her and find Sarah, who was kidnapped. Luck brings her to a family who helps, but cruel fate intervenes and she’s on her own again. Her journey leads her to a thriving mining town and a job. When she isn’t protecting herself from criminals, there are grizzlies and other wild animals to deal with too. Delilah is a character I couldn’t help but root for. She’s not afraid of hard work or to stand up to injustice. I love some relationships she develops, including a potential love interest. My favorite though is the bond with a local Ute boy. The well-written settings and descriptions brought me deeper into Delilah’s world. This is a gritty, fast-paced Western with a strong female character that I can easily recommend. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Next week I will be debuting Deep in the Forest Where Poetry Blooms new video—and celebrating release day!
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn