Welcome to my Inner World. I am a French self-taught artist, and these past seventeen years I have made Norway my home. Moving to the Lofoten islands was the greatest present I ever made to myself and the Arctic landscapes are indeed a true treat for any artist’s eyes. I live with my British soulmate,… Continue Reading

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DRAGON KEEPER By Carole Wilkinson

A Breathtakingly Brilliant Adventure!

May 25, 2005 By T. J. Jones “TJ” (San Diego, CA United States)

This review is from: Dragon Keeper (Hardcover) `Dragon Keeper’ is the U.S. debut novel by highly successful Australian author, Carole Wilkinson, that has already won many prestigious Australian awards. It tells the wonderful story of a Chinese slave girl named Ping and her perilous journey to save the last imperial dragon, Long Danzi. In the beginning, Ping is a slave for the cruel, current Dragon Keeper, who neglects his duties and in so doing so causes the death of the second to last imperial dragon. In a startling amount of courage, Ping rescues Danzi and they set off for the Ocean which Danzi mysteriously insists on traveling to for the sake of a beautiful purple stone which he holds most important to the sake of all dragons. Wilkinson is a master of words, painting amazing scenes and the emotions of Ping as effortlessly as the artists of the beautiful traditional Chinese pictures that don every chapter opening. Ping was a three-dimensional, interesting main character. She realistically makes and learns from her mistakes, and therefore by doing so is relatable to all readers. The dragon Long Danzi was my favorite character. His riddles of wisdom hold lessons that Ping must take importantly if she is to outwit the many villains that chase them throughout the course of the novel and they also provide comical relief. Anyways, Ping’s transition from a scared slave girl to the confident Dragon Keeper was a highly believable journey that left me on the edge of my seat. This novel is full of humor, lessons to be learned and shared, adventure, and sheer enjoyment that I’m sure it will also bring to eager readers everywhere. Highly recommended.

The Terror: A Novel By Dan Simmons

Be Prepared, January 15, 2007
By J.Brian Watkins

Staggering. This book is a litany of failure and not so subtly the failure of western civilization itself; however, there is a surprisingly redemptive streak running throughout. Simmons is a tremendous author, capable of producing masterworks in any genre of his choosing and he is at the top of his powers in this work, which though ostensibly historical fiction owes a debt to mystery, biography, horror, and science-fiction with liberal doses of Shakespeare, sociology and philosophy.

More than a retelling of the Franklin expedition to find the Northwest Passage, “Terror” is the story of Captain Francis Crozier who commands HMS Terror. Crozier has to overcome bad food, poor leadership, even poorer subordinates, mutinous sailors, cold, scurvy and a Monster, in order to reconcile himself with the future that he has seen but fails to understand. Strangely the journey through this dark and 750 plus page novel is ultimately reaffirming and as voiced by a character late in the novel, salvation was always waiting for Crozier who just had to make his choice.

Though ostensibly about failure, this book summarizes the triumph of man over adversity. Though ostensibly about discovery, the book details the tragedy of men dying needlessly within reach of the very survival skills they refused to seek much less adopt. This duality of themes gives great weight to the story; indeed, Simmons quotes liberally from Hobbes, Shakespeare, Homer, Poe and probably several others that I missed. And for fear of spoiling the read, suffice it to say that the author’s erudition serves his purpose of rendering the tale disturbingly modern. It is a cautionary tale and in his wisdom, Simmons leaves us to determine what we take from it

A Shepherd’s Watch: Through the Seasons with One Man and His Dogs By David Kennard

At Borough Farm, on North Devon’s rugged, spectacular coast, David Kennard and his dogs are embarking on a new shepherding year.

Part diary of one man and his remarkable dogs, part Herriot-like homage to the countryside and its characters, A Shepherd’s Watch is that rare thing: a portrait of a real life that is at once authentic and evocative, warm, and compelling. Here, David Kennard presents twelve months with his working sheepdogs, Greg, Swift, Gail, Fern, and Ernie, as they face a never-ending series of challenges: from rescuing ewes stranded on the Atlantic cliffs to running the gauntlet of psychopathic rams and officious farm inspectors, from spring lambing and summertime shearing to fending off the ever-present threats nature has in store for the 850-strong flock. All this, in the midst of a harsh economic climate for farming and a landscape that is among the most picturesque, yet wildly unpredictable, in the British Isles.

David Kennard has been a shepherd since he left school at the age of seventeen. In this, his first book, he draws on half a lifetime’s experience to paint an honest and affectionate, often comic picture of a year in the life of a sheep farm and its very different canine and human personalities. As he follows the changing seasons, observing nature’s inexorable journey through the dark days of winter to the rebirth and renewal of spring, he also offers a gentle meditation on man’s relationship with his environment, and a poignant elegy to a rural way of life.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters By Gordon Dahlquist

Here begins an extraordinary alliance—and a brutal and tender, shocking, and electrifying adventure to end all adventures.

It starts with a simple note. Roger Bascombe regretfully wishes to inform Celeste Temple that their engagement is forthwith terminated. Determined to find out why, Miss Temple takes the first step in a journey that will propel her into a dizzyingly seductive, utterly shocking world beyond her imagining—and set her on a collision course with a killer and a spy—in a bodice-ripping, action-packed roller-coaster ride of suspense, betrayal, and richly fevered dreams.