Entries by Mary Maddox

Book Reviews – The Bullet and Playing with Fire

I don’t post many negative book reviews. When I’m not connecting with a book, for whatever reason, I stop reading unless I’ve committed to reviewing it. And I don’t feel comfortable judging books that I haven’t finished. I liked Mary Louise Kelly’s The Bullet and Sherry D. Ficklin’s Playing With Fire enough to finish them. […]

The Locksmith’s Secret – A Rich Narrative Tapestry

In The Locksmith’s Secret, Tahlia Newland has woven several narratives into a complex story about the joys and pitfalls of love and the enduring power of the imagination. Writer Prunella Smith, whom readers may remember from Newland’s last book, Worlds Within Worlds, has found love with Jamie Claypole, an English transplant to Australia. The two […]

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Return to Tanglewood

I found the paperbacks in a used bookstore. Their pages were yellowed and they had the distinctive smell of old books. New, they cost $0.60 and $1.25. They were A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s adaptations of classical myths for children, and when I was nine years old they were my favorite books. […]

A clone in the world

I decided to fill in one of the millions of gaps in my education by reading a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. I couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for Remains of the Day, the one about the butler, but Never Let Me Go is about clones. Surely, I thought, a novel about clones had to be […]

A taxing week

There are kids who dream of growing up to be entrepreneurs. They set up lemonade stands at the end of 10K races. They seek out jobs stocking supermarket shelves or hawking mall fashions as soon as they’re old enough to work. I wasn’t one of those kids. I put off getting my first job as […]

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Sneak peek: final cover for Darkroom

Last month I received several intriguing cover ideas from graphic designer Pete Garceau. Any of them would have made a great cover for Darkroom, so to help me choose, I polled readers to discover which one they liked most. Two clear favorites emerged. This cover captures the sinister mystery of a forest in the mountains, […]

Gifted Thief will steal your heart

The protagonist of Helen Harper’s urban fantasy Gifted Thief lives the first eleven years of her life without a name. An orphan among the Highland Sidhe, she’s so despised that no one bothers giving her one. She lives in a castle, the ward of a nobleman, ignored or bullied until she escapes to the world […]

My Reading Hangups

I start every book meaning to finish. But sometimes I put the book down and never pick it up again. Here are a few of the reasons why . . . I love to read fiction. That’s one reason I became a writer — to create those magical portals called books. I begin each story […]

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Who Is the Second Person?

Here’s a rerun of  an old essay on use of the second person for new readers who missed it the first time around. I’m kind of proud of this one.  You don’t see much fiction in second-person point of view. You encounter plenty of characters who tell their own stories and all kinds of third-person […]

A small grief

The day I returned to work after my brother’s funeral, one of my former students, ‘Trevor’, dropped by to announce that his world had collapsed. His fiancée had dumped him for some guy with lots of money. He was going to drop out of graduate school and he didn’t give a shit what happened him […]