I'm thrilled to have published my novel MATTERS OF CONVENIENCE and cannot wait to hear what readers have to say about it. Reviews left at Amazon, or goodreads, or any other web site that caters to avid readers, or written at your blogs or spoken on your YouTube channels will be greatly appreciated. The price to purchase a copy of either the print or Kindle edition certainly isn't prohibitive, but I'll be hosting giveaways from time to time just because. There happens to be one going on at goodreads right now, with a winner to be chosen 12/24/2016. Below you'll find a link to where you can enter the giveaway along with reviews of the last couple books I've read. 'Tis the season of too much to do and not enough time to do it in, so I'm keeping this post brief. It's also the season of gift giving, and surely some of your favorite people are book lovers. If so, MATTERS OF CONVENIENCE is custom built to fit snugly in a Christmas stocking. And there's certainly no sin in self gifting.
At long last, publication day is here for Matters of Convenience. If you check it out, penny for your thoughts. https://t.co/njTw7AqNYl pic.twitter.com/ir1YjURzL5— Roy L. Pickering Jr. (@AuthorofPatches) November 15, 2016
Youngblood by Matt Gallagher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a fine book of place, if not plot which this novel is rather light on. Matt Gallagher effortlessly (which of course likely means he took great effort) pulls us into an Army unit in Iraq and gives us a taste of what modern warfare is like for members of an occupying force. It isn't a tale of heroism so much as of following orders and doing what it takes to make it from one day to the next, hopefully without abandoning too much of one's conscience along the way. There is a bit of detective story thrown into the narrative, a bit of star crossed love story too. There are threats to the narrator Jack Porter from within his own unit that are as ominous as bombs and bullets coming from the official enemy. There is sand and heat and scorpions and falafels and brokered deals and needless death and unhelpful remorse and the biding of time. I feel somewhat knowledgeable about the day-to-day existence of a 21st century soldier stationed in an ancient land after having read this book. But I'm wise enough to know that reading what it's like is one thing, living it as Mr. Gallagher did and admirably documented, quite another.
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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A fine piece of literary historical fiction. I've always been fascinated by the Jazz Age and the artists who gave it its reputation. Especially the American writers who took a break from our shores to live in Paris and join the future icons from Europe in wine, cheese and debauchery. Therese Anne Fowler did an exemplary job of bringing familiar names and reputations from literature anthologies to life, skillfully transporting us to romanticized days. Reading this novel I felt like Owen Wilson's character in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, suddenly thrust into a world where each day was filled to the brim with an excess of genius, celebration, and elegant style. In the middle of this story we find Zelda Fitzgerald, a woman who on the one hand was perfectly emblematic of this time, yet on the other could not fit in the way she truly yearned to because she was a woman/wife/mother in a man's world. Zelda was a person of bursting talent and ambition that could not be fully exploited and showcased because of her role as Mrs. Fitzgerald. Fowler explores the great passion that brought and somehow held the Fitzgeralds together over the course of their tempestuous marriage. The reader knows before turning to the first page that greatness is in store for them, most especially for F. Scott, but Zelda is more of a mystery to us. As the pages are turned and the narrative unfolds, we learn that there is more to Zelda than her reputation. We watch her try to be a good wife as the time period defined this term to the man she loved, while also trying to be a woman ahead of her time who hoped to carve out her own place in the history books. We watch her desires nearly destroy her as her husband's vices wreak havoc on their roller coaster marriage and his health. Various famous names flit in and out of their lives. Ernest Hemingway plays a major role in expanding F. Scott Fitzgerald's insecurities and loosening the bonds of his devotion to Zelda. There is plenty of glamour and globetrotting and name dropping and a Great War and eventually another one. In the center of it all is a fun loving southern belle who decides to take a chance on a cocky northern soldier that her daddy does not approve of. She chooses to defy conventions and expectations, and tries to discover herself along the way rather than meekly accepting who society says she is supposed to be. F. Scott Fitzgerald casts a great shadow. Seeking light nearly destroyed Zelda, but she was a formidable woman who could withstand everything but the literal flames that consumed her on her final day. With able assistance from Therese Anne Fowler, Zelda has risen from the ashes and assumed her place as an icon from a magical time.
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"...what was happiness but the vast terrain between ecstasy and agony? Was this too small an ambition?" https://t.co/aD9pfnUaDh— Roy L. Pickering Jr. (@AuthorofPatches) September 20, 2016
"Nothing felt better to him than the act of waiting for her. As long as he believed it wasn’t in vain, he was able to justify his presence."— Roy L. Pickering Jr. (@AuthorofPatches) September 17, 2016
Matters of Convenience https://t.co/oaqxA63D9f https://t.co/rJxhLPuZpL #goodreads #giveaway pic.twitter.com/UkRxIfQKeL— Roy L. Pickering Jr. (@AuthorofPatches) November 26, 2016
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As always, HAPPY READING