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Book Review: Division by Karen Wyle

So if you saw the earlier post today, you’ll have noticed that I mentioned Karen Wyle by name.  She sent me an email that sparked me to actually post today, so I’m eternally grateful to her for that.  In return, I want to tell you about her latest novel – which is fabulous and intriguing and thought-provoking as per usual.  It came out in paperback yesterday, so definitely check it out!



by Karen Wyle

*My review copy was provided by the author.

Divisionis another thought-provoking, ethically-challenging and very enjoyable story from a talented author. I met Karen through an invitation to review her first novel (Twin-Bred – a review of which is also available on here, and another book you will want to pick up), which I also thoroughly enjoyed (it’s sequel, Reach, is on my to-read list and the only reason I haven’t read it yet is that the birth of my daughter interrupted my reading schedule, teehee). She crafts clever, inventive, unique stories peopled with very human (even when they’re not!) characters that are real and flawed and complex in all the best possible ways.

Division is a story of conjoined twins – not a subject I ever gave much thought to, honestly, but one which let her explore the ideas of family and self in ways all to applicable, I think, to all of us. The tale of Johnny and Gordon made me think, rage, cry, blush, and laugh out loud – the full range of emotion is here, with a spin I doubt you’ve ever considered but which she manages to handle deftly with sensitivity but not sentimentality. The boys’ struggle to live individual lives is guaranteed to leave an impression – and to make you think about your own concept of what it means to be you and live your life, limits and opportunities all.

Excellent job Karen. If you aren’t familiar with her books I simply can’t encourage you enough to pick them up. They aren’t like anything else you’re reading – in the best possible way.

Yes, I AM Still Alive…

I know it’s been AGES AND AGES since I’ve posted – I swear, I’m still here… Things have been nuts since the birth of The Sprout (she’s nine whole months old already, which seems absolutely impossible) and I haven’t been writing or doing much in the world of *real* work (she said, tongue oh-so-firmly planted in cheek, since this whole mommy thing is way harder than any job she’s ever held in corporate America). That said, I got an email from a writer friend today and had to post as a result (thank you Karen Wyle – this may have been the greatest accidental email in the history of email!). I didn’t want the post about her book to get lost in my “yes I’m still around” message, so I will post that next. First though I wanted to fill you in on a few things and give a few thoughts:

  • I had my first (and only) baby last June.  We called her The Sprout before we knew if she was a boy or girl, and the name has stuck.  No, it’s not her actual name, but it’s the name I will use to refer to her on here.  She is amazing and I can’t believe how she’s changed my perspective on everything in such a short time.
  • This new perspective has included the sad realization that, in the near future, there is going to be a whole lot less of me in my life than ever before.  I have struggled with this a bit, but am trying to accept that for now I have Things To Do that don’t necessarily allow me the luxury of focusing on myself to the extent I have in the B.S. (Before Sprout) era.
  • This DOES NOT MEAN that I am living through the baby or losing myself or stopping being me.  It DOES MEAN that I can’t write like I did before – when the mood struck me, without discipline or schedule, for hours and hours if the words were flowing.  If I’m going to write with a small child at home, I am going to have to learn to do it on her schedule rather than mine.  This is very hard for me and I don’t particularly like it (teehee), but it’s a fact of my new life that I’m trying to learn to deal with (and believe me, it’s harder learning to adapt to this than to no sleep!)…
  • I don’t know when I will return to a regular schedule of posting.  The blog is great and I like doing it a lot, but if I have limited writing time I need to focus on my *real* fiction writing first.  When I can, I will post.  If you have ideas/anything you’d like to see me talk about, please let me know – I write the blog for feedback first and foremost.

I am getting excited about writing again, which is a good thing.  I am self-aware enough to know that alone doesn’t guarantee that I will magically start doing it with discipline though…  Still, it’s a start!  I’m looking forward to hearing from those of you who are still out there again too.  So comment or say something when you can – it helps me a lot to know there’s someone out there…  :)


I Probably Should Have Said These Things Months Ago…

But I am officially saying it now:

(a) I am on book reviewing hiatus;

(b) I am pregnant (and due Very Soon);

and (c) – which shouldn’t have to be said but apparently does because over the past six months I’ve had more emails asking me to do this than I can count – I do not review children’s books even when (a) and (b) do not apply, as stated in my review policy.

I’m hoping to get back to regular posts after the baby is born, but can’t make any promises on timing just yet. I am sorry I’ve been MIA (for those few of you who may have missed me), but it’s been a long and somewhat uneasy-going road and I’ve been a tish distracted. (Pregnancy is, it turns out, a young woman’s game – and at almost-40, I’m not so much a young woman, biologically-speaking.)

The upside (besides, of course, the actual baby!) is that I’ve been doing a ton of reading (since sitting in a mound of pillows is about the only thing I have done even remotely comfortably for some time now), so if you’re curious what I’ve been up to, you can check me out on GoodReads.

I hope everyone out there is doing well and to be back in regular communication soon!

Yes, I Know There’s Nothing New…

And I’m sorry about that, really I am, but there’s kind of a lot going on right now, so I’m announcing informal hiatus for a bit. I’ll be back soon, I’m quite sure, and will fill you in happily at that point. Until then, happy reading and writing, and I hope to see you again soon! :)

Guest Book Review: Dragon Wing – The Death Gate Cycle Volume 1

Today’s Book Review Tuesday post is a guest review from Paul Taylor.


Book Review: Dragon Wing – The Death Gate Cycle Volume 1

Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman are best known for creating the seminal Dragonlance RPG setting in the early 1980’s. These books helped to introduce several generations to the fantasy genre, inspiring many modern fantasy authors. In late 1980’s, Weis and Hickman started work on an epic series that would rival their earlier efforts. This setting came to be known as the Death Gate Cycle, a series of seven books chronicling five distinct worlds. The first book is called Dragon Wing and is set in Arianus, the world of air.

Assassin, Intellectual, and Spy
Dragon Wing combines the tale of several different men. The first is that of the assassin Hugh the Hand, who has a dark and varied past. The second is that of a dwarf known as Limbeck, who chooses to defy what is known for the sake of knowledge. The third is the interloper known only as Haplo, a man who has survived a deadly maze and is sowing discord in the world of Arianus. The book introduces all three near the beginning as the assassin is tasked with killing a boy, the intellectual is imprisoned for his thoughts, and the spy crash lands on an island. All three men eventually come together and find that they know more about the world than anyone expects.

A breeze to read with a fact paced style
The writing style is simple and fast paced. There is no deliberate complexity to the book, instead it is filled with easy to read sentences that keep the story and action flowing. The writing isn’t bad but it also isn’t flowery or overly descriptive. The writers say what is needed and move on to the next part of the story. Some will find this blue-collar writing style wanting; however, the style fits the tone of the book well. Dragon Wing tends to be dialogue heavy a well, using characters conversations to move the plot forward. The book is an easy read that can be a good distraction for those that love fantasy.

On the Wings of Dragons
This book doesn’t break new ground when it comes to fantasy, but it tells a compelling and competent story. As the beginning of a seven book series, not all the questions brought up in Dragon Wing are answered by the end of the novel. This doesn’t mean the novel feels incomplete. On the contrary, the story of Arianus is brought to a close in a compelling fashion. Just remember that hooks are in place to help the reader continue on to the next book in the series. Weis and Hickman do well in continuing their legacy as top-notch writers of fantasy.


Paul Taylor and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare through “”.

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