Review-Don’t Forget to Write

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Don’t Forget to Write, by Sarah Warman, is a collection of biographical essays all related to Sarah’s experiences in becoming and being an adult, running the gamut of high school years, moving out on her own, first job, love, and loss. The essays are quick to read and delightful! They’re also humorous, highly relatable, insightful, heart-warming and most of all for me, nostalgic.

Although I enjoyed all of Sarah’s essays, one of my personal favorites is “I Hate Running Skirts”. It had me laughing so hard. I’m from a generation where culottes were popular, and boy am I glad that fad went out of style (or has it?). Luckily, I attended public high school and didn’t have to deal with the strict dress codes of a private school. But I had friends who did, so it was a delight to read. My other favorite was “Lifeguard”, a summer job where Sarah feared she would actually have to save someone’s life. I enjoyed her voice in this piece, both comical and personal.

Other favorites of mine are “Leaving a Legacy” and “Losing Control”, both insightful essays that deal with the concern of what our lives would mean after we’re gone, and the more serious issue of personal loss that Sarah endured and transcended.

I enjoyed this title immensely and am looking forward to reading her latest title, Don’t Forget Me.



Review: R.A. McColley – Trumpets Will Fill The Sky

Trumpets Will Fill The Sky, R.A. McColley’s first collection of verse and short stories, contemplates the human dilemmas of heart and spirit. McColley is blessed with the gift of rhyme as well as a keen ability to observe the effects of beauty and ignorance and inspire the reader to truly experience life. McColley is an artist who paints rare and exceptional portraits with his quill, and the content of his verses is highly relatable. While I enjoyed the entire collection, my favourite poems, due Trumpets Will Fill The Sky, R.A. McColley’s first collection of verse and short stories, contemplates the human dilemmas of heart and spirit. McColley is blessed with the gift of rhyme as well as a keen ability to observe the effects of beauty and ignorance and inspire the reader to truly experience life. McColley is an artist who paints rare and exceptional portraits with his quill, and the content of his verses is highly relatable. While I enjoyed the entire collection, my favourite poems, due to either content or his words’ visual images, were Still Waters “avoiding conflict daily finding peace within our hell, life is like an open ocean screaming from a shell”, The Joy of Sadness “sadness my dearest friend in solitude, a dear one of caring when I’m not in the mood, always to show me and never is rude, sweet song in life my darling brief interlude”, and Watercolor “I let the colors blur over the page, they drip off to the edges blending and bleeding, the brush moves water like filling the crevices.” I highly recommend this collection and am anxious for McColley’s forthcoming title.


The (In)Accurate Assessments of Sage Rathbun – Benjamin Michael Greene

product_thumbnail2Take off your shoes, cozy up on the couch with a cup of coffee in hand (preferably of the Irish variety) or a glass of absinthe, and enter a wild and wonderful world in The (In)Accurate Assessments of Sage Rathbun. Take a sojourn from the boundaries of reality as you enter Sage’s world. Forget about what is or isn’t possible. Turn off that voice in your head that says “that could never happen!” That’s exactly the point.

The first season of The (In)Accurate Assessments of Sage Rathbun, which originally appeared as a series on, is now available in print. Part fantasy, part science fiction, part hilarious, you must turn off the limitations on your imagination. Enter a world with a motley crew of characters including Sage’s portly Japanese neighbor Hans Paz Blanco, Beached Stingray HR Woman, his pet Bengal Tiger-Woman Au Gratin (a.k.a. Tater), Leprechauns, Priest, Thetans, Yarnlings, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Salami Mafia.

The story is told in first person with Sage Rathbun as protagonist and narrator. Sage speaks directly to the reader as if we are right there, almost in a stream-of-conscious sort of way, as inner thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and humorous external interpretations ensue. Greene never explicitly states what the gender of his main character, Sage, is and wants the reader to leave it to their own interpretation (although there are a few strong indications).

The story begins in Sage’s kitchen with “sweaty depressed cloud” of a roommate, Sydney, when they discover there’s no coffee left, the milk has gone sour, and the cabinets are bare except for a package of Ramen Noodles. The next insult comes when Sage’s paycheck is short due to a pending FBI investigation preventing Human Resources from issuing paychecks. The hilarity continues when Sage and Sydney embark on an adventure to the grocery store, battling the hordes of shoppers in the produce section, deli, Asian aisle and check-out line. Who can’t relate to this scene?

Then Sage is severely bloated on the morning of his/her annual physical, and Greene provides very detailed descriptions, along with humor and charm. Sage discovers a box at the door and an envelope containing three gold leprechaun coins. Sage quickly spends the coins on a unicorn at Costco, Chinese buffet dinner at the Jade Phoenix 2, and a pet Bengal Tiger named Au Gratin. The scene is hilarious as Sage and Au Gratin cruise down the road in a 1987 Toyota Camry with Au Gratin swiping at Sage’s headrest and a police officer. When Sage arrives home, he/she is visited by leprechauns demanding Sage steal back the coins. Sage inherits a ‘wee bit’ of leprechaun magic, and Au Gratin is transformed into a tiger woman who can now speak and behave like a human.

One of my favorite chapters is Chapter 4 “Au Gratin on My Hans”, as it is full of rich, vivid descriptions. Greene is quite gifted in his ability to evoke powerful sensory description, such as “Mist swirled up from the empty containers, twisting and twirling until they were sucked up by the darkness that filled the rest of the buffet”, and “The night began to darken in a way that only the paintbrush of death knew how to shade.” Hans and Sage break into the Jade Phoenix 2 to steal back one of the coins, and engage in battle with zombie waiters. Au Gratin has an adventure in space as Empress of the Galaxy in the ongoing war between the Witnesses and the Mormons. Another favorite description, “The iridescent glow of distant galaxies swirled about in silent ballets, while cosmic dust added a gentle effervescent sheen to the thrumming of the stars.” I am reminded of Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise during the chapters involving the U.S. Goodboy and the Yarnlings. A brown-cloaked man helps Au Gratin travel through a space-time portal back to Sage’s bedroom with the assistance of a large amount of Vasoline (for countering the friction).

My favorite chapter is Chapter 11, “Play Time’s Over, Part I”. It reminded me of the feeling that movie goers felt during The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy emerged from her Kansas house (carried by a twister to Munchkin Land and subsequently atop the Wicked Witch of the East). When Dorothy opened the door, we saw the world in Technicolor splendor. Sage and Au Gratin are transformed into gingerbread people and enter the world of the classic board game Candyland. Greene’s descriptions of the lands in Candyland along with its characters brought me back to my childhood, which was a welcome and fun diversion. Re-visit the Rainbow Bridge, Gum Drop Pass, Peppermint Forest, and meet Mr. Mint, Lord Licorice (who’s actually William Shakespeare), and Princess Lolly. Sage is on a mission to save Au Gratin from the Nutt House. Again more beautiful prose, “the path was swirled by powdered sugar snow, and the air held a chilly bite that cut through even my tough gingerbread flesh.”

I can’t wait for Season 2!

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Lucid – Benjamin Michael Greene

I recently reviewed this book on and for my good friend and author, Benjamin Michael Greene.  I gave it 5 stars!

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Lucid, a collection of eight short stories, runs the gamut of humorous, fantastic, hopeful, emotional, and poignant. Lucid is sublime in its abundance of rich, vivid imagery that soars off the page with detailed sensory descriptions. Allow yourself to be transported into a world full of wonder; where the impossible is possible and things you thought resided only in dreams become reality. Greene encourages the reader to never stop dreaming and to reach for those dreams; to be willing to escape limitations of reality; if only for a brief respite.

My favorite story is “That Dream She Lived”, about a little girl who escapes reality of school and less-than-attentive parents. I could easily imagine myself as the girl with long, brown hair wearing a pink and purple paid button-up dress, sitting on her swing, splashing her feet in puddles. Greene presents a beautiful vignette reminding the reader how important it is to imagine, wonder and believe in magic.

“Why We Work” is a poem for those stuck in the rut of the work world; merely existing by doing the same thing without passion; people who lost all joy, hope, purpose and ability to dream. Greene reminds us to grab hold of our dreams and make them reality.

“Gaslight”, the shortest story, is a delightful portrait of winter, perhaps something Norman Rockwell could have painted. This story is rich in sensory descriptions of pure, gentle white snow, moments of peace and quiet viewed from a porch during a snow fall, a brief respite from the chaos at this time of year, and the magic of memories.

“Apple Season” is sad, beautiful, and poignant. This story is about loss and despair, and the magic of a ladybug.

“I Watch Them Quietly” is a charming story about friendship and love, as the guardian of a cemetery watches over its inhabitants. An old inhabitant reminds the guardian how important it is to live so that your soul lives on after you depart making you truly immortal.

“Dandruff” is full of vivid description when two men enter the apartment of their older brother only to find it covered floor to ceiling in coloured sticky notes, and try to discern meaning.

“Best for Last”, with characters displaced from another book the author was writing, is a charming tale about a writer experiencing writer’s block (art imitating life?) and characters without a story.

I highly recommend Lucid. Greene has a unique style of prose, with rich, vivid descriptions and limitless imagination. The only negative I can think of is that there should be more stories!