Tag Archives: book review

Review of Rooted and Winged by Marie A. Bailey

For some reason WordPress doesn’t allow me to reblog to Writer Site, so I am posting a link to Marie Bailey’s fun review of Rooted and Winged. Thank you so much, Marie, for giving me a fresh look at my poetry collection!!!

https://1writeway.wordpress.com/2022/10/31/the-ease-of-wind-filled-wings-a-review-of-luanne-castles-rooted-and-winged-poetry-bookreview/

Read why Marie felt anxiety and exhilaration . . . .

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The Rooted and Winged Blog Tour Links

The Rooted and Winged blog tour has been a lot of fun. I thought I would put all the links to early reviews, as well as the interviews and guest posts.

REVIEWS

By Carla McGill: https://www.harbor-review.com/rooted-and-winged

By Sheila Morris: https://iwillcallit.com/2022/10/02/rooted-and-winged-poems-by-luanne-castle/

By Jade Nicole Beals: https://jadenicolebeals.com/2022/10/08/rooted-and-winged-by-luanne-castle-standing-so-your-familiar-setting-takes-flight-with-you/

INTERVIEWS AND GUEST POSTS

Review Tales – Interview with Luanne

The Bookish Elf – Interview with Luanne

The Bookworm – Luanne Castle guest post

Anthony Avina’s Blog – Luanne Castle Interview

The Book Connection – Luanne Castle Interview

Celtic Lady’s Reviews – Luanne Castle Guest Post

The Soapy Violinist – Luanne Castle Guest Post

I would love to do more interviews or posts in the future. If you leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads I would be so thrilled.

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Distant Flickers Book Review

Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss is an anthology of engaging short fiction that varies in subject, style and tone. As the subtitle suggests, explorations in identity and the different faces of loss provide a thematic focus for the collection. After each story, an extended bio, author perspective on the story, and information about the author’s other publications is provided, and I really like that. So often in an anthology I don’t feel that I “meet” the writers of the short stories or poems. Here, I am asked to slow down and get to know them a bit.

Every story in the book is special, but I will write about just a few of my favorites. In “1975: East Ocean View,” Elizabeth Gauffreau develops a character study of a young woman whose childhood has been ended by the birth of a baby. The girl, unexposed to early feminism, hasn’t had a chance to grow up on her own, but instead must negotiate a life of poverty with an immature husband and a baby. Gauffreau’s skill with deft understatement and deep understanding is clear in this piece. “1975: East Ocean View” serves as a reminder to me of the best of the short story genre—and what I love about it. No big splash, but lots of dangerous undercurrents. In her second story in the book, “Diary Omissions: The House on Edgewood Road,” Gauffreau demonstrates a flair for dry humor even as she writes poignantly of a family tragedy.

“Two Boys,” by Carol LaHines, is a thought-provoking look at a mother’s loss. The approach to the subject, as well as the writing style, reminds me of Shirley Jackson’s delightful and unsettling “domestic” stories.

“Where Secrets Go to Hide” by Keith Madsen is a charming and humorous exploration of what makes a secret a secret. An undercurrent of darkness occasionally breaks the surface and shows itself, thus providing tension and suspense to the story.

I enjoyed all the stories in the collection immensely. You couldn’t ask for a more satisfying variety of approaches to both identity and loss. The protagonist in “1975; East Ocean View” has lost her future even as she has lost her past. In this way she is in danger of losing her self. In “Two Boys,” the loss affects the mother’s and the child’s sibling’s identities. Madsen’s story is about the loss of innocence, which affects the identity of the protagonist and his family.

You can purchase the book through your favorite book seller here: https://books2read.com/-distantflickers?format=all

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Review of Rooted and Winged at Savvy Verse and Wit

I’m thrilled with this review of Rooted and Winged at Savvy Verse and Wit.

You can find it here:

Two of the poems in Rooted and Winged are based on Sylvia Plath poems. This is what my Plath Collected Poems looks like after all these years.

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Jade Nicole Beals’ Review of Rooted and Winged

I love following Jade Nicole Beals’ sensitive book reviews, creative writing and art, so I am thrilled to read her review of Rooted and Winged on her blog.

You can find it here:

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A Lovely Review of Rooted and Winged

A huge thank you to Sheila Morris for her lovely review of Rooted and Winged on her blog. I tried to reblog, but my reblog button doesn’t work right, so here is the link!

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Review of a Treasure: Millicent Borges Accardi’s Through a Grainy Landscape

The title of Millicent Borges Accardi’s new poetry collection Through a Grainy Landscape is from a quote by Tiago Araújo about driving at night where the view has been altered by the “dim and orangey lights” and from the final poem of the book, which explores the journey of living in a world where “walls / built across artificial boundaries” harms even children.

The poems of this book spring from strong influences on Accardi and her writing: Portuguese culture and the Portuguese diaspora; her childhood as the daughter of immigrants, and her mother, a lively figure in party dresses and good times. Accardi says that the poems were inspired by writing by “Portuguese-American writers and Portuguese writers in translation.” I have not read these muses and mentors, but appreciate the wellspring and focus they give the collection.

“It was my Mother who Taught me to Fear,” gives you an idea of what to expect from Through a Grainy Landscape:

The irregular verbs of culture that brought
the family away from The Azores, to the promised
land of California, was, were been.
Shocking like a past to push away
And start over born, born/borne.
As if invisibility could be
Run away from, a new start
in the garage of an uncle,
after a cross-country railroad
trip like pioneers, Los Angeles
was away from beat, and was beaten
down, the promised land was
to become became, begin,
a location that pushed away
and helped folks to start over,
pretending you were someone
else to fight, fought, fought.
To flee, fled. To approach
a way to make-over, redo, make-believe.
To start again. As if half-life
never happened. Not the Great
Depression of your grandmothers,
or the Great War, with its aircraft
carriers and new breed of
how to be and what to do. California
was a gifted promise for the melting
pot generation, goodbye to bend (bent, bent)
into shape. As the train car runs through
every state in the union, interwoven, interwoven
in a pattern called starting over,
in a safe place with a brand new method of
keeping, kept, kept. Where no one genuflected
on Sundays, kneel (knelt/kneeled, knelt/kneeled).
to recreate yourself from nothing is a wonderful thing.
Time were, you almost believed
it was possible.

Accardi’s collection is a treasure, both for its specific context within Portuguese-American literature and because it responds to the perspective that the United States is a country of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants. I even learned a favorite new word: saudade, which means “a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament” (Oxford Languages). This poetry collection left me with something akin to that feeling.

Through a Grainy Landscape is available HERE.

I remind those of you who preordered Rooted and Winged that the writing contest ends on Wednesday, July 27. That’s the last day you can submit a flash fiction, flash nonfiction, or poem that addresses the prompt in the guidelines. See HERE.

Before too long I will write about the two new cats living at my house. For now I will say that integrating them is a work in progress! Perry is helping me, of course.

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Advance Review of Rooted and Winged by Carla McGill at Harbor Review

Harbor Review has published a gorgeous advance review of my new collection Rooted and Winged by Carla McGill. I really love seeing what she found in my work. Check it out here: Harbor Review: Review of Rooted and Winged by Carla McGill

The first paragraph just to get you started:

Luanne Castle’s third collection of poetry, Rooted and Winged, is a striking exhibition of poetic intuition and skill. Comprised of forty-four poems and structured in four parts, the poems take readers on a journey through contrasts, dilemmas, and disturbances, all witnessed or summoned by a narrator who offers unflinching observations of nature, scenes, and moods. In keeping with her first two collections, Doll God (Aldrich Press, 2015) and Kin Types (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Castle has woven family members and childhood memories into sometimes quiet, sometimes tumultuous present-day reflections.

This is a reminder that the eligibility period for the Rooted and Winged Writing Contest ends on July 15, which is a week from Friday. However, the deadline for submissions is not until July 27! Read the guidelines here: WRITING CONTEST GUIDELINES

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Calmer Girls: a Book Review by Luanne Castle — Jennifer’s Journal

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m thrilled to see that my debut novel, Calmer Girls, has been reviewed by American writer and poet, Luanne Castle, on Goodreads and Amazon. This is something that never gets old for an author, and is especially appreciated when such a sparkling review is from an esteemed writer like Luanne. Have a […]

Calmer Girls: a Book Review by Luanne Castle — Jennifer’s Journal

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My Review of Julia’s Violinist by Anneli Purchase and Note from the Author

While I rarely write about fiction, I do read a fair amount of the genre. Today I am sharing a review of a unique novel by blogger Anneli Purchase.

The engrossing story Julia’s Violinist, by Anneli Purchase, shows destruction by war through the eyes of one woman and her family. Julia is a Sudeten German, living with three million other ethnic Germans in what is now the Czech Republic. When Hitler’s Germany is defeated, suddenly Julia’s people are vulnerable. At the start of the story, Julia is a young widow with two daughters. Because she is a German woman amongst the Czechs, she is immediately thrust into danger. The Czech military wants to rid the country of the Germans, so they herd them into barracks where they are starved and many women raped. Julia manages to stay with her daughters, her parents, and one sister in the holding facility. She stays strong for the sake of the others, especially her daughters. Eventually Julia and her family move to Germany and from there to Canada.

Before I read this novel, I did not know about Sudetenland or Sudeten Germans, so I knew nothing of their plight when, first they were taken over by the Czechs after WWI, and then their country became Czechoslovakia after WWII. I had assumed that what is now the Czech Republic was always peopled by mainly Czechs. In a similar vein, until more recent years, although my maternal grandmother’s people emigrated from Prussia, I did not realize that Prussia was in what is now Poland or that all the ethnic Germans in Prussia were made to leave their homes after WWII. Their experience was similar to that of the Sudeten Germans.  I have discovered that my accountant was a Sudeten German toddler when his family was made to live in refugee camps, just as Julia lived in the barracks, with little food. He told me that he did not have enough to eat at that age and that it affected his health.

Julia’s Violinist threads a love story throughout the historical tale. Although the story is not chronological, it is told in clearly-identified sections, so it is very easy to understand. This structure places the reader immediately in the dangerous world of post WWII, but then goes back in time to before the war, a time when Julia was just maturing and falling in love with Michael, a violinist, who also loves her. But his father dies as they are to begin courting, and Michael has to take over the family bakery. He has no time for dating. Julia’s life goes off in another direction when she marries and has children. But Michael will come back into her life. Read the book to find out what happens with the star-crossed lovers and to follow the twists and turns in the lives of Julia and her children.

Characters are so well-drawn. Julia is a very likable woman. She’s heroic, but also very human. Some of her decisions can be second-guessed, but considering her circumstances, they are understandable. I particularly admire the development of the complex and less-than-heroic character of Karl. I found myself trying to analyze him as if he were someone I knew in real life. When I finished reading the story, I felt as if I had to leave behind a hometown or community.

Although this is a minor point, the editing of Julia’s Violinist is impeccable, making it a special pleasure to read. Since Anneli Purchase is a professional editor, this makes sense. I am often sidetracked when reading by typos that I can spot at thirty paces, but this book is a smooth read. My deep involvement with the characters and their stories wasn’t broken by distractions.

Whenever I read a book from the perspective of someone from an overlooked group, I learn so much–and this novel is no exception.  I feel privileged to have “met” Julia and her family.

GREAT NEWS. Anneli Purchase is offering a 99 cent sale on Julia’s Violinist and all her other books until the end of December.

***

I asked Anneli if she would please talk a bit about Julia’s Violinist. What she told me seems to explain why this book feels so important and so close to the heart of the writer.

When I was growing up, I often helped my mother in the kitchen. As we cooked and baked, my mother talked about “the old days” and I asked her many questions. She told me how the southeast part of Germany she lived in (Sudetenland) suddenly came under Czech rule with the stroke of a pen at the end of WWI. Three million Germans were to be ruled by a Czech government. When WWII came along, these people had hoped to shed the yoke of the oppressors, but as we all know, for better or worse, Germany lost the war.

As a child, I thought that this amazing story was one that happened only to my mother, that she and her family were the only ones who were driven out of their homes. But as I grew up and learned more about history, I realized that this was far more widespread than I had imagined. After the war, with the blessing of the Allies, the victors, especially the Czechs and Russians who had scores to settle, swarmed through Sudetenland, killing and raping thousands, and driving them out of their land.

Before, during, and after these atrocities were committed, the story of Julia takes shape. She is one person, but various versions of her story happened to hundreds of thousands at that time, and therefore, it needed to be told.

The story is fictional, but it is based on a lot of research, and while the personal story of Julia cannot be verified, I have tried to stay true to the historical facts as they happened then, hopefully without prejudice.

***

Anneli Purchase has lived and taught in various parts of British Columbia, including the Queen Charlotte Islands and Vancouver Island where she works as an author and a freelance copy-editor. Her articles on coastal life have appeared in Canadian and UK magazines. She has published five novels (The Wind Weeps and its sequel Reckoning Tide, Orion’s Gift, Julia’s Violinist, and Marlie).

Anneli with Emma (as a puppy)

Links

To find out more about Anneli’s novels, you can visit her website:

www.anneli-purchase.com

Anneli’s books will be on sale for 99 cents until the end of December. You can purchase Julia’s Violinist at amazon.com

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can go to smashwords.com for all types of e-reader formats.

***

All the happiest or most peaceful or satisfying holidays to you!!!

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